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

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To work freelance or to go in-house? That is the question.

And the question is more difficult now more than ever– especially for material online marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is a significantly appealing path, with practically 45% of freelance and agreement participants making incomes above $75,000 each year.

But that does not suggest it’s the only viable profession course for material online marketers.

In truth, the future looks bright for internal professionals as more organizations are finding methods to incorporate SEO into broader marketing efforts.

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

Gain brand-new insight from this Q&A-design interview with Aja Frost, who started her marketing profession as a freelance writer making a monthly income 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 using an “organic-first” technique.

Read on as Frost shares her experience of becoming an internal content strategist, go-to SEO strategies, and ideas for building a gratifying SEO career.

Becoming An Internal Material Strategist

What has it resembled transitioning from an established freelance writer to an in-house content strategist?

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

I needed to relearn a lot of my impulses– for instance, your manager and teammates tend to want more frequent/detailed updates than your customers, who typically only appreciate the high level. I was far less autonomous than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I had 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+ staff members.”

What unforeseen skill 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 invest five to six hours daily in meetings, and being able to interpret how someone is feeling, what they’re stating versus what they’re not saying, if they’re persuaded or doubtful, etc, is incredibly valuable.

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 notices.

If I’m in a larger group, I keep scanning faces, so I’m evaluating everybody’s responses. And I consistently duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my presumptions and make sure I’m interpreting ideas correctly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so fired up about the complimentary website contractor 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 enjoyable), and it offers totally free web hosting and no charge for connecting a customized domain.”

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

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

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

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

How does globalization affect your planning for content method?

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

Our localization group is amazing; for each piece of material they localize, they’re equating not just the words and meaning but matching HubSpot’s design and voice to the target market.

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

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

What’s the most effective SEO strategy you ‘d suggest to someone wishing to improve the results they are obtaining from natural search?

AF: “Concentrate on quality over amount. It’s far more reliable to release one well-written, in-depth piece of content with unique insights and original research than 10 higher-level, derivative pieces.

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

Helping Women Run The SEO World

Any tips for SEO freelancers who have a difficult time offering themselves with no previous clients under their belts for recommendation?

AF: “Develop samples for hypothetical clients, ask another freelancer if you can do some free keyword research study or material creation for them in exchange for training and your name on a job, and make sure your website looks professional and your own material strategy is flawless.”

What advice do you have for a woman pursuing a career in SEO? For a woman aspiring to a leadership function in the market?

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

My support group has actually been important for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pushing me to take on new challenges, and brainstorming techniques to get more airtime in conferences, get individuals to take me seriously, and advocate for myself.

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

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and regard I show my terrific (or, for German readers, “excellent”) colleagues and supervisor. And, obviously, the live version of Beyonce’s Formation.”

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost