To be self-employed or to work at home? this is the question.
And the question is now harder than ever – especially for content marketers.
According to State of SEO 2022, freelancing is an increasingly attractive path, with nearly 45% of freelance and contract respondents earning salaries of more than $75,000 per year.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the only viable career path for content marketers.
In fact, the future looks bright for in-house professionals as more companies find ways to integrate SEO into their broader marketing efforts.
So, which way do you take at the fork?
Get fresh insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who began her career in marketing as a freelance writer making nearly $6,000 a month.
Now, she’s the Director of English Growth at HubSpot, where she’s helped out with the Sales Blog Breaking an 18-month traffic plateau Through the use of the “organic first” strategy.
Read on as Frost shares her experiences becoming an inbound content strategist, techniques for transitioning into SEO, and tips for building a rewarding SEO career.
Become an internal content strategist
What was it like going from well-known freelance writer to in-house content strategist?
Aja Frost: “My transition from freelancing to internship was six years ago, but I remember it being challenging.
I had to relearn a lot of my instincts – for example, your manager and teammates tend to have more frequent/detailed updates than your customers, who usually only care about being high. I was much less independent than when I was freelancing.
In addition, I had to explore the working dynamics within what felt at the time to be a large organization (about 1,700 people). Now that seems small, as HubSpot has over 7,000 employees.”
What unexpected skill or experience helped you as a marketing leader and SEO strategist?
A.F.: Active listening and observing are probably my two most used skills.
I spend five to six hours a day in meetings, and being able to interpret how someone is feeling, what they say versus what they don’t say, if they’re convinced or skeptical, etc. is very valuable.
To make this easier, I make Zoom full screen, hide my box so my face won’t get distracted, and turn off all notifications.
If I’m in a larger group, I’ll keep checking faces so I’m gauging everyone’s reactions. And I constantly repeat what I hear so that I can challenge my assumptions and make sure I’m interpreting the clues correctly.”
Go-To Content Tools and Technologies
What is your favorite feature within the HubSpot platform, and why?
A.F.: “I’m really excited about the HubSpot free website builder that launched a few months ago.
It is actually a file Drag and drop website builder This is very easy to use (I’ve created a few test sites for fun), offers free web hosting and no cost to connect a custom domain. “
What trends do you see in how artificial intelligence affects keyword research? How do you take these trends and turn them into research strategies based on thematic clusters?
A.F.: “Artificial intelligence-driven keyword research is useful as a foundation.
It is much faster to use a tool to come up with longer relevant keywords than manually searching through SERPs or even Ahrefs results.
However, nothing beats an SEO’s intuition and experience in figuring out which keywords belong together in an article and how to group those articles into groups.”
How does globalization affect your content strategy planning?
A.F.: Content that has traffic and demand in multiple markets will be created in English first and then translated into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and/or Japanese for our regional blogs.
our The localization team is amazing; For each piece of content translated, they not only translate the words and meaning, but match HubSpot’s style and voice to their target audience.
For example, when translating an English-language publication into German, the team will replace “the best”, “best in class”, “incredible”, etc. with “It’s good and will help you.”
A lot of content is generated in the language (meaning keyword research is done in Spanish, and content is generated in Spanish). This ensures that we answer the unique questions of our target market.”
What is the most effective SEO technique you would recommend for someone who wants to improve the results they get from organic search?
A.F.: “Focus on quality over quantity. It is much more effective to publish a well-written, in-depth piece of content with unique insights and original research than 10 high-level derivative pieces.”
If you’re not getting the results you should be getting when you look at your keyword target MSV (monthly search volume), slow down and spend (more) time on each post.”
Helping women run the world of SEO
Any tips for SEO freelancers who are having a hard time selling themselves with no previous clients under their belts to fall back on?
A.F.: “Create forms for virtual clients, ask another freelancer if you can do some free keyword research or create content for them in exchange for training and your name on the project, and make sure your website looks professional and your content strategy is impeccable.”
What is your advice to a woman seeking a career in search engine optimization? For a woman aspiring to a leadership role in the industry?
A.F.: “Being a woman in the SEO industry and a leader in technology has gotten a lot easier… but it’s still hard!
My support group has been invaluable for helping me vent when I struggle with sexism, pushing me to take on new challenges, brainstorming strategies for getting more air time in meetings, getting people to take me seriously, and standing up for myself.
I highly recommend building a network of peers (inside and outside your company) to connect with.”
What enables you as a strong leader?
A.F.: “I am enabled by the trust and respect that I share with my wonderful (or ‘good’ to German readers) colleagues and managers. And, of course, the live version of Beyoncé’s formation.”
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Featured image: Courtesy of Aja Frost