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 more difficult now more than ever– particularly for content online marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is an increasingly attractive path, with nearly 45% of freelance and contract respondents earning salaries above $75,000 each year.

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

In reality, the future looks brilliant for internal professionals as more services are finding ways to incorporate SEO into more comprehensive marketing efforts.

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

Gain brand-new insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who started her marketing career as a freelance author making a regular monthly earnings of roughly $6,000.

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

Continue reading as Frost shares her experience of ending up being an in-house material strategist, go-to SEO techniques, and pointers for constructing a fulfilling SEO profession.

Becoming An In-House Material Strategist

What has it resembled transitioning from a recognized freelance author to an in-house content strategist?

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

I needed to relearn a great deal of my instincts– for example, your supervisor and teammates tend to want more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, who normally only care about the high level. I was far less autonomous than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I needed to determine the dynamics of working inside what, at the time, seemed like a huge company (~ 1,700 people). Now that sounds small, as HubSpot has 7,000+ workers.”

What unforeseen ability or experience has helped you as a marketing leader and SEO strategist?

AF: “Active listening and observing is most likely my most-used skill.

I spend 5 to 6 hours per day in conferences, and being able to translate how somebody is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not stating, if they’re persuaded or hesitant, etc, is exceptionally valuable.

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

If I remain in a bigger group, I keep scanning faces, so I’m gauging everybody’s reactions. And I regularly duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my assumptions and ensure I’m analyzing clues correctly.”

Go-To Material Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so fired up about the complimentary website contractor HubSpot released a couple of months earlier.

It’s actually a drag-and-drop website contractor that’s very simple to use (I’ve developed a few test sites for enjoyable), and it uses complimentary webhosting and no charge for linking a custom-made domain.”

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

AF: “AI-driven keyword research is helpful as a foundation.

It’s far quicker to utilize a tool to come up with relevant longer-tail keywords than manually dig through the SERPs and even Ahrefs outcomes.

Nevertheless, absolutely nothing beats an SEO’s intuition and know-how for finding out which keywords belong together in a short article and how those posts should be grouped into clusters.”

How does globalization impact your preparation for material strategy?

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

Our localization group is unbelievable; for each piece of content they localize, they’re equating not just the words and significance but matching HubSpot’s design and voice to the target audience.

For example, when localizing an English post to German, the team will replace “biggest,” “best in class,” “incredible,” etc with “it’s great, and it will assist you.”

A great deal of content is developed in-language (suggesting the keyword research is carried out in Spanish, and the material is developed in Spanish). This ensures we respond to the questions unique to our target market.”

What’s the most reliable SEO method you ‘d suggest to someone wanting to enhance the outcomes they are obtaining from organic search?

AF: “Concentrate on quality over quantity. It’s far more efficient to publish one well-written, extensive piece of material with unique insights and initial research than 10 higher-level, derivative pieces.

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

Helping Women Run The SEO World

Any ideas for SEO freelancers who have a tough time offering themselves with no previous clients under their belts for reference?

AF: “Create samples for theoretical customers, ask another freelancer if you can do some totally free keyword research or content production for them in exchange for training and your name on a job, and make certain your website looks expert and your own material method is impeccable.”

What suggestions do you have for a woman pursuing a career in SEO? For a female desiring a leadership role in the industry?

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

My support group has actually been indispensable for assisting me vent when I experience sexism, pressing me to take on new difficulties, and conceptualizing methods to get more airtime in conferences, get people to take me seriously, and supporter for myself.

I extremely, extremely suggest constructing your network of peers (both inside and outside of your company) to get in touch with.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and respect I show my terrific (or, for German readers, “great”) coworkers and supervisor. And, of course, the live variation of Beyonce’s Development.”

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost

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