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 concern.

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

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is a significantly attractive path, with almost 45% of freelance and agreement participants earning salaries above $75,000 annually.

But that doesn’t suggest it’s the only practical profession path for content online marketers.

In reality, the future looks bright for internal specialists as more services are finding methods to incorporate SEO into wider marketing efforts.

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

Gain new insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who started 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 helped its Sales Blog site break an 18-month traffic plateau by utilizing an “organic-first” method.

Continue reading as Frost shares her experience of becoming an in-house material strategist, go-to SEO techniques, and pointers for building a satisfying SEO profession.

Becoming An In-House Content Strategist

What has it resembled transitioning from an established freelance author 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 lot of my instincts– for example, your manager and colleagues tend to want more frequent/detailed updates than your customers, who usually only appreciate the high level. I was far less autonomous than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I needed to find out the dynamics of working inside what, at the time, felt like a big company (~ 1,700 people). Now that sounds little, as HubSpot has 7,000+ employees.”

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

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

I spend five to six hours daily in meetings, and having the ability to analyze how someone is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not saying, if they’re convinced or doubtful, and so on, is incredibly important.

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

If I’m in a larger group, I keep scanning faces, so I’m evaluating everybody’s reactions. And I regularly duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my presumptions and make certain I’m analyzing clues properly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so ecstatic about the complimentary website builder HubSpot introduced a couple of months ago.

It’s really a drag-and-drop website home builder that’s super easy to use (I have actually developed a couple of test websites for enjoyable), and it offers totally free webhosting and no cost for linking a customized domain.”

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

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

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

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

How does globalization affect your planning for content strategy?

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

Our localization team is extraordinary; for every piece of content they localize, they’re translating not just the words and significance but matching HubSpot’s design and voice to the target audience.

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

A lot of content is created in-language (suggesting the keyword research is carried out in Spanish, and the content is created in Spanish). This ensures we respond to the concerns unique to our target market.”

What’s the most efficient SEO strategy you ‘d advise to somebody wishing to enhance the results they are getting from natural search?

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

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

Assisting Women Run The SEO World

Any pointers for SEO freelancers who have a tough time selling themselves without any past clients under their belts for recommendation?

AF: “Develop samples for theoretical clients, ask another freelancer if you can do some free keyword research study or material production for them in exchange for training and your name on a project, and ensure your website looks expert and your own content technique is impressive.”

What guidance do you have for a female pursuing a career in SEO? For a lady aspiring to a management role in the industry?

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

My support group has been invaluable for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pressing me to handle new difficulties, and brainstorming methods to get more airtime in conferences, get individuals to take me seriously, and supporter for myself.

I highly, highly recommend building your network of peers (both inside and outside of your business) to get in touch with.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and regard I show my wonderful (or, for German readers, “great”) colleagues and supervisor. And, naturally, the live version of Beyonce’s Development.”

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost