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

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

And the concern is more difficult now more than ever– particularly for material online marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is an increasingly attractive path, with practically 45% of freelance and contract respondents making incomes above $75,000 annually.

However that does not suggest it’s the only practical profession path for content marketers.

In reality, the future looks brilliant for in-house specialists as more organizations are finding methods to incorporate SEO into broader marketing efforts.

So, which way do you address the fork in the roadway?

Gain new insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who began her marketing career as a freelance writer making a regular monthly income of approximately $6,000.

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

Keep reading as Frost shares her experience of becoming an in-house content strategist, go-to SEO techniques, and tips for building a fulfilling SEO profession.

Ending Up Being An Internal Material Strategist

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

Aja Frost: “My transition 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 manager and teammates tend to desire more frequent/detailed updates than your customers, who typically just care about the high level. I was far less self-governing than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

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

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

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

I spend 5 to six hours each day in conferences, and having the ability to translate how somebody is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not stating, if they’re persuaded or skeptical, etc, is exceptionally important.

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 notifications.

If I’m in a larger group, I keep scanning deals with, so I’m determining everybody’s responses. And I consistently repeat back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my assumptions and make sure I’m analyzing clues properly.”

Go-To Material Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so ecstatic about the complimentary site home builder HubSpot released a few months ago.

It’s in fact a drag-and-drop site builder that’s incredibly simple to use (I’ve constructed a couple of test websites for fun), and it offers 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 trends into topic-cluster-driven search strategies?

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

It’s far much faster to use a tool to come up with relevant longer-tail keywords than by hand dig through the SERPs and even Ahrefs results.

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

How does globalization affect your planning for material strategy?

AF: “Content that has traffic and need potential in several markets will be produced in English initially and then localized into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and/or Japanese for our regional blogs.

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

For instance, when localizing an English post to German, the group will change “biggest,” “best in class,” “unbelievable,” etc with “it’s good, and it will assist you.”

A lot of content is developed in-language (meaning the keyword research is done in Spanish, and the content is created in Spanish). This guarantees we answer the questions special to our target audience.”

What’s the most reliable SEO technique you ‘d suggest to somebody wishing to improve the outcomes they are obtaining from organic search?

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

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

Helping Ladies Run The SEO World

Any suggestions for SEO freelancers who have a tough time selling themselves without any previous customers under their belts for recommendation?

AF: “Produce samples for theoretical customers, ask another freelancer if you can do some free keyword research study or content creation for them in exchange for training and your name on a job, and ensure your site looks professional and your own content strategy is flawless.”

What suggestions do you have for a lady pursuing a career in SEO? For a woman aspiring to a leadership role in the industry?

AF: “Being a female in the SEO industry and a female leader in tech is getting a lot much easier … however it’s still difficult!

My support group has actually been vital for assisting me vent when I experience sexism, pushing me to take on new obstacles, and brainstorming strategies to get more airtime in conferences, get individuals to take me seriously, and advocate for myself.

I highly, extremely advise building your network of peers (both inside and beyond your company) to contact.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and respect I share with my terrific (or, for German readers, “great”) coworkers and manager. And, obviously, the live version of Beyonce’s Formation.”

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Included Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost