From Freelance Writer To In-House Leader: Meet Aja Frost

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To work freelance or to go internal? That is the concern.

And the concern is trickier now more than ever– specifically for content marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is an increasingly appealing course, with practically 45% of freelance and contract participants making salaries above $75,000 per year.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the only feasible profession path for content online marketers.

In truth, the future looks brilliant for in-house specialists as more services are finding methods to incorporate SEO into more comprehensive marketing efforts.

So, which way do you go at the fork in the roadway?

Gain new insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who started her marketing profession as a freelance author making a month-to-month income of approximately $6,000.

Now, she’s the Director of English Development at HubSpot, where she assisted its Sales Blog break an 18-month traffic plateau by utilizing an “organic-first” method.

Read on as Frost shares her experience of becoming an in-house material strategist, go-to SEO methods, and pointers for constructing a rewarding SEO profession.

Ending Up Being An Internal Content Strategist

What has it been like transitioning from a recognized freelance writer to an internal content strategist?

Aja Frost: “My shift from freelancing to in-house was 6 years ago, however I remember it was challenging.

I had to relearn a lot of my impulses– for instance, your manager and colleagues tend to desire more frequent/detailed updates than your customers, who typically only appreciate the high level. I was far less self-governing than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I needed to figure out the characteristics of working inside what, at the time, felt like a huge organization (~ 1,700 people). Now that sounds little, as HubSpot has 7,000+ workers.”

What unanticipated skill or experience has helped you as a marketing leader and SEO strategist?

AF: “Active listening and observing is probably my most-used ability.

I spend five to six hours per day in meetings, and having the ability to analyze how someone is feeling, what they’re stating versus what they’re not stating, if they’re convinced or doubtful, etc, is exceptionally important.

To facilitate this, I make Zoom full-screen, hide my own box so I can’t get sidetracked by my face, and turn off all alerts.

If I remain in a bigger group, I keep scanning deals with, so I’m assessing everyone’s responses. And I consistently duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my presumptions and make sure I’m translating hints correctly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

What is your favorite function within the HubSpot platform, and why?

AF: “I’m so excited about the complimentary site builder HubSpot released a couple of months ago.

It’s really a drag-and-drop website home builder that’s incredibly simple to utilize (I have actually constructed a few test websites for enjoyable), and it offers totally free web hosting and no cost for linking a custom-made domain.”

What patterns are you seeing in how AI impact keyword research? How do you take and turn these trends into topic-cluster-driven search strategies?

AF: “AI-driven keyword research is valuable as a structure.

It’s far much faster to utilize a tool to come up with appropriate longer-tail keywords than manually dig through the SERPs or perhaps Ahrefs results.

However, absolutely nothing beats an SEO’s intuition and proficiency for determining which keywords belong together in a post and how those articles need to be grouped into clusters.”

How does globalization impact your planning for content method?

AF: “Material that has traffic and need capacity in several markets will be developed in English initially and after that localized into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and/or Japanese for our regional blogs.

Our localization team is unbelievable; for every single piece of content they localize, they’re translating not simply the words and significance but matching HubSpot’s design and voice to the target market.

For example, when localizing an English post to German, the group will replace “greatest,” “best in class,” “extraordinary,” and so on with “it’s good, and it will assist you.”

A great deal of material is developed in-language (suggesting the keyword research is done in Spanish, and the content is produced in Spanish). This guarantees we answer the questions unique to our target audience.”

What’s the most effective SEO technique you ‘d advise to someone wishing to improve the outcomes they are obtaining from organic search?

AF: “Concentrate on quality over amount. It’s even more reliable to publish one well-written, extensive piece of material with unique insights and original research than 10 higher-level, acquired pieces.

If you’re not getting the results you ought to be when you take a look at your keywords’ target MSV (monthly search volume), slow down and spend (method more) time on each post.”

Assisting Ladies Run The SEO World

Any tips for SEO freelancers who have a bumpy ride selling themselves without any previous clients under their belts for reference?

AF: “Create samples for hypothetical clients, ask another freelancer if you can do some complimentary keyword research study or content production for them in exchange for training and your name on a task, and make sure your site looks expert and your own material method is remarkable.”

What advice do you have for a woman pursuing a profession in SEO? For a lady aspiring to a management function in the market?

AF: “Being a lady in the SEO market and a female leader in tech is getting a lot much easier … but it’s still hard!

My support group has been invaluable for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pushing me to handle new difficulties, and brainstorming strategies to get more airtime in meetings, get people to take me seriously, and advocate for myself.

I highly, extremely suggest constructing your network of peers (both inside and outside of your business) to contact.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and respect I show my wonderful (or, for German readers, “good”) colleagues and manager. And, naturally, the live variation of Beyonce’s Formation.”

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost