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 question is more difficult now more than ever– especially for content marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is an increasingly attractive course, with almost 45% of freelance and contract participants making wages above $75,000 per year.

But that doesn’t suggest it’s the only practical career path for material marketers.

In reality, the future looks brilliant for internal specialists as more organizations are finding methods 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-design interview with Aja Frost, who started her marketing career as a freelance writer making a monthly earnings of approximately $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” method.

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

Ending Up Being An In-House Material Strategist

What has it been like transitioning from a recognized freelance author to an in-house material strategist?

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

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

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

What unforeseen ability or experience has helped you as a marketing leader and SEO strategist?

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

I spend five to six hours each day in conferences, and having the ability to translate how someone is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not saying, if they’re persuaded or skeptical, etc, is extremely 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 notices.

If I’m in a larger group, I keep scanning faces, so I’m evaluating everyone’s reactions. And I regularly duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my presumptions and ensure I’m translating hints properly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

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

AF: “I’m so thrilled about the totally free site contractor HubSpot released a few months earlier.

It’s actually a drag-and-drop site contractor that’s very simple to utilize (I have actually built a few test sites for enjoyable), and it offers totally free webhosting and no cost for connecting a customized 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 study is useful as a foundation.

It’s far much faster to use a tool to come up with pertinent 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 a short article and how those posts ought to be grouped into clusters.”

How does globalization impact your planning for content strategy?

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

Our localization team is unbelievable; for every single piece of material they localize, they’re translating not just the words and significance however matching HubSpot’s style and voice to the target market.

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

A great deal of content is created in-language (implying the keyword research is carried out in Spanish, and the content is created in Spanish). This guarantees we respond to the questions special to our target audience.”

What’s the most efficient SEO technique you ‘d suggest to somebody wishing to enhance the results they are obtaining from organic search?

AF: “Focus on quality over quantity. It’s far more effective to release one well-written, in-depth piece of content with special insights and original research than 10 higher-level, derivative pieces.

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

Assisting Females Run The SEO World

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

AF: “Create samples for theoretical clients, 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 project, and ensure your website looks professional and your own material technique is remarkable.”

What recommendations do you have for a woman pursuing a career in SEO? For a woman aspiring to a management role in the industry?

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

My support system has been vital for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pushing me to handle new challenges, and conceptualizing methods to get more airtime in meetings, get individuals to take me seriously, and advocate for myself.

I highly, extremely recommend developing your network of peers (both inside and beyond your company) to call on.”

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, “excellent”) colleagues and supervisor. And, obviously, the live variation of Beyonce’s Formation.”

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost