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 concern is trickier now more than ever– specifically for content online marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is an increasingly appealing path, with nearly 45% of freelance and agreement participants making wages above $75,000 per year.

However that doesn’t mean it’s the only feasible profession path for content online marketers.

In fact, the future looks bright for in-house professionals as more companies are finding ways to incorporate SEO into more comprehensive marketing efforts.

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

Gain new insight from this Q&A-design 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 Growth at HubSpot, where she helped its Sales Blog site break an 18-month traffic plateau by utilizing an “organic-first” method.

Keep reading as Frost shares her experience of ending up being an internal material strategist, go-to SEO techniques, and ideas for constructing a satisfying SEO career.

Ending Up Being An In-House Content Strategist

What has it been like transitioning from a recognized freelance writer to an internal content strategist?

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

I had to relearn a great deal of my impulses– for instance, your supervisor and teammates tend to want more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, who usually only appreciate the high level. I was far less autonomous than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I had to figure out the characteristics of working inside what, at the time, seemed like a huge company (~ 1,700 individuals). Now that sounds little, as HubSpot has 7,000+ workers.”

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 five to 6 hours daily in conferences, and being able to translate how someone is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not saying, if they’re convinced or skeptical, and so on, is exceptionally important.

To facilitate this, I make Zoom full-screen, conceal 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 determining everybody’s responses. And I regularly duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my presumptions and make sure I’m interpreting hints correctly.”

Go-To Material Tools & Techniques

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

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

It’s in fact a drag-and-drop website builder that’s extremely easy to utilize (I have actually developed a couple of test websites for fun), and it provides free webhosting and no cost for connecting a custom-made 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 methods?

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

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

Nevertheless, nothing beats an SEO’s instinct and know-how for figuring out which keywords belong together in an article and how those articles should be grouped into clusters.”

How does globalization impact your preparation for material strategy?

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

Our localization team is unbelievable; for each piece of material they localize, they’re translating not just 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 group will change “biggest,” “best in class,” “incredible,” etc with “it’s good, and it will assist you.”

A great deal of material is produced in-language (implying the keyword research study is done in Spanish, and the material is produced in Spanish). This ensures we address the concerns special to our target market.”

What’s the most efficient SEO method you ‘d suggest to somebody wishing to improve the results they are receiving from natural search?

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

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

Helping Ladies Run The SEO World

Any tips for SEO freelancers who have a difficult time offering themselves without any past customers under their belts for reference?

AF: “Produce samples for theoretical customers, ask another freelancer if you can do some totally free keyword research study or content creation for them in exchange for training and your name on a task, and ensure your site looks professional and your own content strategy is impeccable.”

What recommendations do you have for a female pursuing a profession in SEO? For a lady aspiring to a management role in the market?

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

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

I extremely, extremely advise developing your network of peers (both inside and beyond 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 share with my wonderful (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