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– especially for content marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is a significantly attractive path, with nearly 45% of freelance and agreement respondents making salaries above $75,000 per year.

But that doesn’t suggest it’s the only feasible profession path for material marketers.

In fact, the future looks intense for in-house specialists as more organizations are finding methods to incorporate SEO into broader 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 career as a freelance author making a monthly earnings of roughly $6,000.

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

Keep reading as Frost shares her experience of ending up being an internal material strategist, go-to SEO strategies, and pointers for constructing a fulfilling SEO profession.

Ending Up Being An Internal Content Strategist

What has it been like transitioning from a recognized freelance writer to an in-house material strategist?

Aja Frost: “My transition from freelancing to in-house was six years earlier, but I remember it was challenging.

I needed to relearn a great deal of my impulses– for example, your supervisor and teammates tend to desire more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, 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 find out the dynamics of working inside what, at the time, seemed like a huge organization (~ 1,700 people). Now that sounds little, as HubSpot has 7,000+ staff members.”

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

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

I invest five to six hours per day in meetings, and having the ability to translate how somebody is feeling, what they’re stating versus what they’re not stating, if they’re persuaded or hesitant, and so on, is extremely valuable.

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

If I remain in a larger group, I keep scanning deals with, so I’m gauging everybody’s reactions. And I consistently duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my assumptions and ensure I’m interpreting hints properly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so ecstatic about the free website home builder HubSpot introduced a few months earlier.

It’s actually a drag-and-drop website contractor that’s extremely easy to utilize (I’ve constructed a couple of test sites for fun), and it provides totally free web hosting and no cost for connecting a custom domain.”

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

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

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

However, nothing beats an SEO’s instinct and proficiency for finding out which keywords belong together in a post and how those posts should be grouped into clusters.”

How does globalization impact your planning for content technique?

AF: “Content that has traffic and demand capacity in several markets will be produced in English first and after that localized into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and/or Japanese for our local blog sites.

Our localization team is incredible; for each piece of material they localize, they’re equating not simply the words and significance however matching HubSpot’s style and voice to the target market.

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

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

What’s the most efficient SEO technique you ‘d recommend to someone wanting to improve the results they are receiving from organic search?

AF: “Focus on quality over quantity. It’s much more reliable to publish one well-written, thorough piece of material with distinct insights and initial research than 10 higher-level, derivative pieces.

If you’re not getting the outcomes you should be when you look at your keywords’ target MSV (monthly search volume), decrease and invest (method more) time on each post.”

Assisting Women Run The SEO World

Any ideas for SEO freelancers who have a difficult time offering themselves with no past customers under their belts for referral?

AF: “Create samples for hypothetical clients, ask another freelancer if you can do some totally free keyword research or material production for them in exchange for training and your name on a job, and ensure your site looks expert and your own material strategy is impeccable.”

What suggestions do you have for a lady pursuing a profession in SEO? For a lady aspiring to a management role in the market?

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

My support group has been important for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pressing me to handle new challenges, and brainstorming techniques to get more airtime in meetings, get individuals to take me seriously, and supporter for myself.

I extremely, highly suggest building 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 share with my wonderful (or, for German readers, “excellent”) coworkers and supervisor. And, obviously, the live variation of Beyonce’s Development.”

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Included Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost