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 question is trickier now more than ever– particularly for content marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is a significantly attractive path, with nearly 45% of freelance and contract participants earning incomes above $75,000 each year.

However that doesn’t imply it’s the only viable career path for material online marketers.

In reality, the future looks intense for in-house experts as more services are finding ways to integrate SEO into broader marketing efforts.

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

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

Continue reading as Frost shares her experience of becoming an internal content strategist, go-to SEO techniques, and tips for building a gratifying SEO profession.

Ending Up Being An Internal Content Strategist

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

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

I had to relearn a lot of my instincts– for example, your manager and colleagues tend to want more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, who usually only care about the high level. I was far less autonomous than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

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

What unexpected ability 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 5 to six hours each day in meetings, and being able to translate how someone is feeling, what they’re stating versus what they’re not stating, if they’re persuaded or hesitant, etc, 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’m in a larger group, I keep scanning faces, so I’m gauging everyone’s responses. And I consistently repeat back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my presumptions and make certain I’m translating ideas properly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so thrilled about the free website home builder HubSpot introduced a couple of months earlier.

It’s really a drag-and-drop site builder that’s incredibly simple to use (I have actually constructed a few test sites for enjoyable), and it provides free webhosting 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 techniques?

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

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

However, absolutely nothing beats an SEO’s instinct and expertise for determining which keywords belong together in a post and how those short articles must be organized into clusters.”

How does globalization affect your planning for content technique?

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 local blogs.

Our localization group is unbelievable; for every single piece of content they localize, they’re translating not simply the words and meaning but matching HubSpot’s style and voice to the target audience.

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

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

What’s the most effective SEO strategy you ‘d advise to someone wanting to enhance the outcomes they are receiving from natural search?

AF: “Focus on quality over amount. It’s much more efficient to release one well-written, in-depth piece of material with unique insights and initial research study than 10 higher-level, acquired pieces.

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

Assisting Females Run The SEO World

Any pointers for SEO freelancers who have a bumpy ride selling themselves without any previous customers under their belts for reference?

AF: “Create samples for hypothetical customers, 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 job, and make sure your website looks professional and your own content method is remarkable.”

What guidance do you have for a lady pursuing a career in SEO? For a lady desiring 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 … however it’s still difficult!

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

I highly, extremely recommend developing your network of peers (both inside and beyond your company) to get in touch with.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

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

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Included Image: Thanks To Aja Frost