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 question.

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

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is a progressively attractive path, with practically 45% of freelance and contract participants earning wages above $75,000 annually.

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

In fact, the future looks brilliant for in-house professionals as more businesses are discovering methods to integrate SEO into more comprehensive 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 started her marketing profession as a freelance writer making a regular monthly earnings of roughly $6,000.

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

Read on as Frost shares her experience of ending up being an internal content strategist, go-to SEO strategies, and suggestions for developing a gratifying SEO profession.

Becoming An In-House Material Strategist

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

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

I needed to relearn a great deal of my impulses– for example, your supervisor and teammates tend to want more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, who typically just care about the high level. I was far less self-governing than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

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

What unforeseen 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 spend 5 to six hours per day in meetings, and being able to translate how someone is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not saying, if they’re persuaded or hesitant, etc, is extremely important.

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

If I’m in a larger group, I keep scanning deals with, so I’m evaluating everyone’s reactions. And I consistently repeat back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my assumptions and make certain I’m analyzing 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 site builder HubSpot launched a couple of months back.

It’s really a drag-and-drop site contractor that’s incredibly easy to utilize (I’ve constructed a couple of test sites for enjoyable), and it provides complimentary webhosting and no cost for linking a custom domain.”

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

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

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

Nevertheless, absolutely nothing beats an SEO’s intuition and knowledge for figuring out which keywords belong together in a short article and how those short articles should be grouped into clusters.”

How does globalization affect your planning for content method?

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

Our localization team is incredible; for each piece of material they localize, they’re translating not simply the words and meaning however matching HubSpot’s style and voice to the target market.

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

A lot of content is created in-language (suggesting the keyword research study is done in Spanish, and the content is created in Spanish). This ensures we address the questions special to our target market.”

What’s the most efficient SEO method you ‘d recommend to someone wanting to improve the outcomes they are receiving from natural search?

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

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

Assisting Women Run The SEO World

Any tips for SEO freelancers who have a tough time selling themselves with no previous customers under their belts for referral?

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

What suggestions do you have for a female pursuing a profession in SEO? For a female desiring a management role in the market?

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

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

I highly, highly advise constructing 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 fantastic (or, for German readers, “great”) associates and manager. And, naturally, the live version of Beyonce’s Formation.”

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Included Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost