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 concern.

And the question is trickier now more than ever– especially for material marketers.

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

But that does not imply it’s the only practical profession path for material online marketers.

In reality, the future looks brilliant for in-house professionals as more businesses are discovering methods to incorporate SEO into broader marketing efforts.

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

Gain new insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who started her marketing profession as a freelance author making a monthly income of approximately $6,000.

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

Continue reading as Frost shares her experience of becoming an in-house material strategist, go-to SEO methods, and tips for constructing a rewarding SEO profession.

Becoming An Internal Content Strategist

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

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

I needed to relearn a lot of my impulses– for example, your supervisor and teammates tend to desire more frequent/detailed updates than your customers, who generally only care about the high level. I was far less autonomous than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I needed to determine the characteristics of working inside what, at the time, felt like a big company (~ 1,700 people). 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 most likely my most-used ability.

I invest 5 to 6 hours daily in meetings, and having the ability to translate how someone is feeling, what they’re stating versus what they’re not stating, if they’re convinced or hesitant, and so on, is exceptionally valuable.

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 notifications.

If I’m in a larger group, I keep scanning deals with, so I’m assessing everyone’s responses. And I consistently repeat back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my assumptions and make sure I’m interpreting hints correctly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

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

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

It’s really a drag-and-drop website contractor that’s super easy to use (I have actually developed a few test sites for enjoyable), and it offers complimentary webhosting and no charge for linking 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 techniques?

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

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

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

How does globalization impact your planning for material strategy?

AF: “Material that has traffic and demand capacity in several markets will be created in English initially and then localized into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and/or Japanese for our local blogs.

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

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

A lot of content is produced in-language (suggesting the keyword research study is done in Spanish, and the content is developed in Spanish). This ensures we answer the questions distinct to our target audience.”

What’s the most efficient SEO technique you ‘d recommend to somebody wanting to improve the results they are receiving from natural search?

AF: “Focus on quality over amount. It’s even more reliable to publish one well-written, thorough piece of content with unique insights and initial research than 10 higher-level, derivative pieces.

If you’re not getting the outcomes you must be when you take a look at your keywords’ target MSV (month-to-month search volume), decrease and spend (way more) time on each post.”

Assisting Ladies Run The SEO World

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

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

What advice do you have for a woman pursuing a career in SEO? For a female desiring a leadership role in the market?

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

My support system has been indispensable for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pushing me to take on new challenges, and conceptualizing methods to get more airtime in meetings, get people to take me seriously, and supporter for myself.

I extremely, extremely suggest developing your network of peers (both inside and outside of your business) to contact.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and respect I show my fantastic (or, for German readers, “good”) coworkers and manager. And, obviously, the live version of Beyonce’s Development.”

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost