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

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

And the concern is harder now more than ever– especially for material marketers.

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

However that doesn’t indicate it’s the only feasible career course for content online marketers.

In fact, the future looks intense for internal specialists as more services are discovering ways to integrate SEO into more comprehensive marketing efforts.

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

Gain brand-new insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who began her marketing career as a freelance writer 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 employing an “organic-first” method.

Continue reading as Frost shares her experience of becoming an in-house content strategist, go-to SEO strategies, and tips for developing a gratifying SEO career.

Becoming An Internal Content Strategist

What has it resembled transitioning from an established freelance author to an internal material strategist?

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

I had to relearn a great deal of my instincts– for example, your manager and colleagues tend to desire more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, who generally only appreciate the high level. I was far less self-governing than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I had to find out the dynamics of working inside what, at the time, felt like a big organization (~ 1,700 individuals). Now that sounds small, as HubSpot has 7,000+ staff members.”

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

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

I invest 5 to 6 hours per day in meetings, and having the ability to interpret how someone is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not saying, if they’re convinced or skeptical, and so on, is incredibly 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 alerts.

If I’m in a bigger group, I keep scanning deals with, so I’m evaluating everyone’s responses. And I regularly duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my assumptions and ensure I’m interpreting clues properly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so thrilled about the complimentary website contractor HubSpot launched a few months back.

It’s in fact a drag-and-drop site builder that’s extremely easy to use (I have actually built a couple of test sites for fun), and it offers free web hosting and no cost 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 methods?

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

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

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

How does globalization affect your planning for material technique?

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

Our localization group is amazing; for every single piece of content they localize, they’re translating not just the words and meaning however matching HubSpot’s style and voice to the target market.

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

A lot of material is developed in-language (suggesting the keyword research study is carried out in Spanish, and the material is produced in Spanish). This guarantees we respond to the concerns distinct to our target market.”

What’s the most effective SEO method you ‘d recommend to someone wishing to enhance the results they are obtaining from natural search?

AF: “Focus on quality over quantity. It’s even more effective to release one well-written, extensive piece of material with distinct insights and original research than 10 higher-level, acquired pieces.

If you’re not getting the results you must be when you take a look at your keywords’ target MSV (month-to-month search volume), slow down and invest (way 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 customers under their belts for referral?

AF: “Develop samples for theoretical customers, ask another freelancer if you can do some free keyword research study or content development for them in exchange for training and your name on a job, and make certain your website looks professional and your own material strategy is remarkable.”

What suggestions do you have for a female pursuing a career in SEO? For a female aspiring to a leadership role in the market?

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

My support group has been important for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pushing me to handle brand-new challenges, and conceptualizing strategies to get more airtime in conferences, get people to take me seriously, and advocate for myself.

I highly, highly advise building 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 share with my wonderful (or, for German readers, “great”) associates and manager. And, obviously, the live variation of Beyonce’s Development.”

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Included Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost