Creativity and Strategy in Content Marketing with Haus of Bold’s Erin Balsa

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This is a podcast episode titled, Creativity and Strategy in Content Marketing with Haus of Bold’s Erin Balsa. The summary for this episode is: <p>In this episode of The Casted Podcast, join host Lindsay Tjepkema as she sits down with content entrepreneur and seasoned marketing leader, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Erin Balsa</a>. Discover the invaluable insights Erin gained during her successful career journey, from being a marketing director at The Predictive Index to founding her own business.</p><p><br></p><p>Erin shares her experiences leading a dynamic content team and building diverse content, including interactive courses, certifications, and engaging documentaries. Tune in to understand how her passion for category creation and thought leadership reshaped her path and inspired her to launch a business centered around talent optimization.</p><p><br></p><p>Delve into the challenges content leaders face when navigating internal conflicts and learn how to align teams for exceptional results. Lindsay and Erin discuss the significance of co-planning and breaking down silos to foster seamless collaboration between marketing, sales, and product teams.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Listen in for:</strong></p><p>🫡 05:31&nbsp;-&nbsp;10:46 The crucial role of content leaders in sales-led companies</p><p>💥 14:35&nbsp;-&nbsp;22:21 Drive your content's success by adapting to change and foster cross-functional collaboration</p><p>🎨 29:27&nbsp;-&nbsp;34:09 The art of knowing when to grind and went to rest</p>
💥 Drive your content's success by adapting to change and foster cross-functional collaboration
00:00 MIN
🫡 The crucial role of content leaders in sales-led companies
05:15 MIN
🎨 The art of knowing when to grind and went to rest
04:41 MIN

Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to the Casted podcast. It's the destination for the most innovative and forward- thinking marketers in B2B like you. Each week, I host conversations with brilliant marketing leaders on the tactics and tricks that they're harnessing to reach their revenue goals, rev their thought leadership engines, amplify their marketing voice in the marketplace and ultimately, drive real business results. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted, and this is the Casted podcast.

Erin Balsa: Erin Balsa, founder at Haus of Bold, spelled H- A- U- S, and I have a podcast, called The Notorious Thought Leader.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Erin, we've got lots to get into. There's lots of kindred spirit of things happening. My sister is name is Erin, and I mentioned that before. You're about to have your third child. I also have three kids. But what's most relevant probably to this conversation and our audience today is all things content. So my entire background is integrated content, all the things, and that's of course what you do and what you talk about all the time. So we are going... Fair warning. If you don't want to geek out about content, this is probably not the episode for you. If you do, it's going to be great. So Erin, tell me a little bit about, set the context for Haus of Bold for what you do all day now and what's your backstory? And let's go from there.

Erin Balsa: Sure. So TL; DR, I was a marketing director at a company called The Predictive Index, leading a fairly large content function, close to 15 people by the time that I left. So I think a lot of people think of content as editorial, and that's just one branch of content. So I had video production, I had instructional designers, I had learning experience designers. We were building interactive courses and certifications and writing research reports and creating not only typical videos like brand videos, product videos, but even documentaries where we flew one of my team members across the country. I think he visited six different cities in the course of a month because he's like a champion. And we created this really cool documentary and invited our best customers and some target accounts to attend, made a big event out of it. We had a lot of fun. What was really fun for me personally about being there was really learning to love category creation and thought leadership, which is something I didn't have deep experience in prior to joining the company. And so when I left to start my own business, I really built it around what I was doing at the Predictive Index and the things I truly loved and felt passionate about. If I had built a business maybe six years sooner, it probably would've been focused more on writing and optimizing content to be found in search. And when I left, it was really building a business around talent optimization, which is a discipline that I helped the executive team create and launch at the Predictive Index. It's all about understanding what motivates people, behavioral drives so that you're hiring people that really feel passionate about the work that they're doing and that you're managing people in a way that drives them. You're not managing people with a one size fits all approach. So I take all of that, my interests, my expertise, and I bring it to my clients today. I help them hire people for their content team. I help onboard and train. I do process mapping. I help them get their processes documented into project management software. And then I do the traditional content marketing things, content strategy, writing, editing, all of that fun stuff.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Man, I love it. So much of what you do, and I'm so glad that you do it, is bringing different worlds together that others just don't. I've run content teams. I've run predictive index. I've done a lot of these things, but I also wish that you're doing this a few years ago because when I was building content teams, I've done it at an agency, I've done it in corporations, and it felt quite often like no one was coming to the level that I needed them to or getting niche enough for what I needed. Because building out a content team within a marketing team is, first of all, it's not that deep, but it is different because it's a creative. It's creatives, but it's also project management and deadlines and fast turnarounds. So there's this push pull of creative space, creative energy, but also deadlines and art meets function and everything has to be measured, and how do you measure the value of creativity? So I love that you're doing that. And I'm really interested to get into insights you want to share and things you think that people that listening today need to know. But also, I want to get into how you've seen that change, not only throughout your career but also since you've been doing Haus of Bold. So yeah, I guess first and foremost, what do you think is unique about teams that team leaders, that marketing team leaders or content team leaders need to know or that might even validate their feelings about what's difficult or possibly uniquely challenging to building out a content team?

Erin Balsa: In my client work, one of the biggest things that I observe time and time again is friction and the inability to bring ideas, vision to fruition because of conflict internally with other stakeholders. Let's say one example could be head of marketing, head of sales, they don't see eye to eye. As long as that is happening and not repaired, as long as these teams are not co- planning and aligning their goals and metrics, you're not going to be able to get the same results or impact that you could if you were working as one. Taking it down a level from heads of functions to content leaders, a lot of content leaders tend to be a content marketing manager. Sometimes you'll have a content marketing director. And at that point, you really have to get not only cross- functional support from the other directors that are in the GTM function, but you have to be able to influence and persuade, manage up so that people actually listen to what you're trying to tell them. Something that I really had to learn how to do, and I struggled with a lot in the past when I was in- house, some of it is because of my natural behavioral drives, which are more agreeable and I like to compromise and I'm an altruist. That's my behavioral pattern. So I really had to learn how to raise( a) my dominance and speak up and fight for what I truly believe in with data, and I'll be the first to admit I'm not one of those people who can build these crazy dashboards and pull all these reports. That's just something I've never had to do. I've always had people to do it for me, but I know what to ask for. I know what I need to see, and I can find ways to use data to help me communicate what we should be doing, as well as case studies. And I think that's something that content marketers really need to do. Taking it back, god, nine or so years ago when I first got into content marketing, and things had already changed, it was already like, hey, we can't just take this one keyword and put it in an article 300 times. We need to start thinking more strategically, or hey, we can't just write a blog post, call it an ebook and get people's email addresses because they're going to say, " What the hell? This sucked. I'm so mad. I gave you my email. Now you're calling me. I didn't authorize this call." All these bad behaviors. People are already starting to say this isn't right, but nothing really... It's still happening at a lot of organizations today, but it's gotten better. And back when I was a champion of we can't do this, we can't gate these essentially blog posts that we're calling ebooks and then we're asking for your email, your phone number, we're calling you immediately, we can't be doing this. It's so easy to drive leads. And a lot of times, content and their team's goal is marketing leads, generate leads. Cool. Anyone can generate leads, but it doesn't really matter if your sales team can't squeeze anything out of those leads. So it's probably better to co- plan, realign your goals and focus on driving the right leads, even if it's a fewer amount of leads. Caveat being, Lindsay, that I typically work with sales- led companies, so I'm thinking about this, not product- led companies who have a$ 10 a month subscription. They just want to get as many people as possible on the website into the tool. It's a little bit different in my world. So I'm thinking about high- quality leads within the ICP ideally.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. So two things. It was going to be one thing, but then with that extra mention, I want to double down on that too. One big takeaway I think is needing to understand the sales motion of the company, the money making model of the business. And especially in really large companies, marketing, especially content marketing can get buried, maybe not so much anymore, but historically has gotten a little bit buried because it's really difficult to draw a line from a blog post to revenue. Therefore, there can conversely be the feeling, even if it's subconsciously, those individuals in those teams can sometimes feel like maybe they don't need to understand the money making model of the business. They don't really need to really understand how many comes in and how it moves around, how it goes out and what KPIs are most important because there's a feeling that they're really far removed from them. It's like, well, it's all about traffic and top of funnel and brand awareness. And if I'm doing my job, the number at the top gets bigger. Now more than ever, at the very least, like you said, co- planning, working together with sales and making sure that there's buy- in, understanding the most important goals and how the business works is for the individuals on those teams to make sure that they're actually proving value and that they're driving the business forward. And also, for the overall business to be that much more effective, especially in a time right now.

Erin Balsa: Right. Yeah. I actually started last week, LinkedIn post series, Ask Me Anything, and I had a bunch of people ask questions. And I think the first or second question that I answered was all about this. I want to transition from content writer to content marketer. What does that mean? And something that I went through and something I saw, I was at an agency managing writers for three and a half years, and it was very siloed. You had your editorial team. You had your graphic design team. You had your strategy. You had your videographers. And it was like a factory assembly line. The strategist would say, " Make this blog post or write eight posts a month." And then the writer would write the eight posts and then they would send them to the graphic designer, and you never really knew or cared to know about what happened. You were just like, " Cool. I wrote my post. I'm done. This is cool."

Lindsay Tjepkema: You're already onto the next one because you already have three more deadlines.

Erin Balsa: Right. And it's not that this is the fault of anyone. This is just the natural progression of being in this role because at first, you think, step one, my job is to write words, and then you're celebrating the fact that people actually read what you wrote. Holy shit. My things are on the web. This is amazing. I'm a writer. I've made it. Phase two, you think your job is to write words and get them to rank because it is. And at some companies, that's the be all, end all. That's all that they really ask of their content team, just get things to rank. Okay, cool. So then they're patting themselves on the back and they're like, " Yay, celebrating. I got something to rank. It's in position two on page one. This is amazing." Okay, your career goes on a little longer and then you start to get bored with that. You're starting to connect the dots. That's not enough. Those aren't things that typically the business cares about. So what does the business care about? They care about driving revenue. And so how do you connect the dots? At a lot of companies, it's super hard. They don't have an in- house ops team. They don't have the resources to build end- to- end attribution. Back in the day, there weren't tools like there are today. There's a lot of tools like Dreamdata, Hockeystack, which give you that entire journey. But even today, those tools are expensive so they're out of reach for a lot of companies. So content marketers, content writers that are at these companies, they haven't yet had the joy of being able to see an end- to- end user journey to really wrap their heads around how these things work. The job does not end when you finish the article and you send it to your editor or you send it to your client. The job is just beginning, maybe not your job, but the job of the content. And really moving from a content writer to a content marketer or just becoming more strategic involves seeing the entire process of content from end to end.

Lindsay Tjepkema: A hundred percent. And I think seeing that entire process from end to end and also the role it plays.

Erin Balsa: Yeah.

Lindsay Tjepkema: It's a really interesting perspective that you said about your job of creating that piece of writing, that post, of publishing that episode might be done, but that piece's job has just begun.

Erin Balsa: Yes.

Lindsay Tjepkema: I think that's super important. How have you seen or even have you seen processes and teams change, especially over the last year with whatever it is that we're calling what's happening in the market, the downturn, the recession, the interesting times? What's your observations with the companies that you're working with about how content processes and teams are changing, good, bad or otherwise?

Erin Balsa: So I have seen teams change, not necessarily with the companies I'm working with if I'm thinking about the content team because I work with a very specific type of company. They do not have an in- house content team or content lead. So typically, they have a marketing team. They're doing lots of marketing activities. They have an SEO agency. They might have a few freelance writers, but they don't have anyone internally who's managing that function, so I typically come on and help them either find someone, recruit talent, bring someone on, or find a high potential employee who loves to write and is interested in the role and onboard them and train them so that they can manage the content function. That said, so even though I'm not seeing those changes on the content team with my clients, I'm seeing them with my network, my friends, my former colleagues. I know a lot of people have been let go or they have had some of their team members let go. And I've seen some really interesting, I say interesting because I don't want to cast judgment, what works for one might not work for the other company, but I've seen some interesting reconfigurations of the content team. I have seen some content teams that used to roll up to marketing. I've seen them get discombobulated and some team members are now part of the product team. And these are companies... I say I work with sales led companies and I do. They have to have some sales led motion. But a lot of companies today, they're not just sales led. They're adding on their PLG motion. So they have a free trial or they have a freemium product. So a lot of times, as this has happened over the last four or five years at these sales led companies, they've read the book, Product- led Growth, they've gone to the workshop and now they've launched this new PLG motion. So they're like, cool, let's try giving some of our creatives over to the product team. Because marketing isn't always invested in as a product in the same way the product team is, especially content. A lot of people see content as arts and crafts. They don't necessarily see it as a revenue driving function, which it can be if embedded correctly. If trusted and invested to grow in things strategically, it definitely can be a revenue generating function. But yeah, so I've seen that happen. I've seen some other configurations where maybe content used to report into brand, now it's reporting into product marketing. Occasionally, content reports straight up to the CMO, which is I think great because I think it really does give content marketers a career path and they're not just stuck at being a content marketing manager. Cool. You can be a director. You can be a VP. You can lead a whole function just like the VP of demand gen or the VP of product marketing. So I really love that, but of course you have to have the right person. Not every content person is performing at a director of VP level. It takes a lot of time and experience to get there.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, I've had the honor and privilege of being able to sit in such a seat. When I came across that role, this was my last role before starting Casted, it almost felt, it seems silly to say, too good to be true because it was a senior leadership position leading brand and content, right alongside demand gen, product marketing, comms. And we all worked together as this leadership team with these global teams beneath us and it was fantastic. We all rolled up to the CMO. I'd like to see more companies do that, of course, not all the right size, but to even have that mindset of brand and content and demand need to work side by side, not over the other because they are of equal importance and really are the yin and yang, they need each other. And so I'm glad that you called that out because I think that that's a really interesting way, especially as we're seeing more and more companies embrace things like podcasting and more and more video. And as we all know that, even just as consumers of content, that it's not just about written word anymore, not by a long shot. Everything is audio and video and more and more long form turning into short form. And as that becomes so much more central to marketing strategies, it's really important to give it the space that it deserves and the recognition and the hierarchy that it deserves because it is so critical to building relationships with audiences that turn into happy, growing customers. It's so, so, so important.

Erin Balsa: Hell, yeah. And I was listening to you talk and I was thinking, I've actually seen a few other interesting things happen over the last few years with content leaders. I've seen people be put in positions where they're overseeing content and customer marketing. I've seen people, customer content and influencer marketing. And it really depends on the nature of your business what you're all about. So if you're a business who you're investing heavily in expanding accounts, like expansion, retention or maybe you have a motion where you're doing a lot of customer, user- generated content or you're doing a lot of collaboration, co- marketing, partner and customer webinars. That can make a lot of sense because what I've also seen with the whole silo problem, how content can live in a vacuum is content knows, all right, I know I really got to talk to customers. I hear this generic advice on LinkedIn. I got to talk to customers. I got to talk to sales. But cool, how do I do that? When do I do that? Do I reach out? What if this person in customer marketing is not that nice to me or they give me a hard time or I reach out and I'm like, " Hey, I want to interview a customer for a case study," and they shut me down or they ghost me. These are all real issues that happen all the time for content marketers. And what you can do for content leaders that are listening or for anyone that's doing the work on a content team, there's two main ways to solve this problem. One is to get support from someone above you who can come in and work to build those bridges if you're not able to do it yourself. And sometimes, it is hard to do it yourself if you're earlier in your career and you don't have that confidence or those skills yet. It can be intimidating. So get somebody that's above you on your side to help foster those relationships, build those bridges. And then process. Process is so I think the easiest way in, honestly, other than just having good relationships cross- functionally. So there's two ways to think about process in terms of building bridges. One is what I have, what I call my end- to- end visual content marketing process map. And this is something I've built over the course of a decade of learning how all the pieces work and learning all the different things that go wrong and then creating documents to prevent those from going wrong. Documents that you can use for onboarding. Documents that you can use that align with your team's KPIs. What are they doing? What are the repeatable checklists and processes? And some of those are those meetings. So for example, in the first part of my process map, it's all about planning, and part of the planning phase is content ideation, and part of the content ideation phase are recurring meetings with certain stakeholders outside of the content team or outside of the marketing team. If you have it on the books, if they know why they're coming and if it's planful so you sent an agenda, you're giving them time to prepare, you are running the meeting like a boss, the boss that you are, those relationships will mend. Those bridges will get built and things just get a lot easier over time.

Lindsay Tjepkema: This is really all super good advice for anyone who's, you mentioned a few times, growing in their career. And I think it's also a really good reminder that there is a very strong path to grow if you are on more of the creative side of marketing and more of the creative side of content and brand. I think it's quite often there's a notion that the path to the top is with metrics that can prove ROI and you and your career, and that that's so often so much more tied to demand gen. Nothing against demand gen. It's awesome. It's so, so needed, but so is the creative side, which, you said before and I have been in this camp, you're put into the arts and crafts part of marketing and it can feel really difficult to prove your value because you don't have a number that really you feel like you have control over and that you always feel confident is driving the business. You can feel, again, like I said earlier, you can feel really removed from business impact, which is part of what we're trying to do at Casted. But I think understanding how much your relationships... Everything that you just said about building relationships. Understanding the power that your storytelling capabilities can have, the power that you can have when you think like a journalist and you understand how to pull stories out of customers and your company's thought leaders and how to be the conduit to those really, really strong pieces of content that other people can use to make those business impacts. And then you're the one who's done that. You combine that with understanding that moneymaking model of the business, it's the path to leadership. And people will recognize that, appreciate that, and there absolutely is a path forward there.

Erin Balsa: Yes. And my mind is going in a million directions because that's just how I am. The thing I wanted to say, if you don't see yourself on the path to leadership, that's fine too. I know a lot of people feel like, " Damn. I have this pressure. I have to become a strategist. I have to become a manager." No, you don't. If that's not what truly lights you up inside, don't. I've actually seen some people who rose into management and then they were like, " I want out. This isn't for me. I was so much happier doing that creative work." And one thing to keep in mind, if you're not in management but you're considering it and not sure it's right for you. The farther up you go, the less creative work you do. The bigger your team is, the less hands- on you can be. You're, in some companies, on Zoom calls eight hours a day, maybe seven hours a day, and you have an hour for Slack. It's not necessarily for everyone. For some people, they love it. They're like, " Whew, thank God. I had put in my dues. I did my five, eight years of writing. I'm ready to be on calls all day. That sounds fabulous." Just being comfortable in yourself to not let your title on LinkedIn define you or give you your confidence because at the end of the day, what really matters is your own happiness, fulfillment and joy. It's not what others think of you that shouldn't necessarily be what drives you to make certain decisions. And one other thing, Lindsay, that I wanted to add. So when I was at The Predictive Index, I had a really amazing counterpart, who is the director of demand gen. And I got to say, this is something I try to bring forward to all the clients that I work with that don't necessarily have a partnership between content and demand gen, it was heaven. This brilliant person who I had these ideas and she had these ideas and we made them happen, and this beautiful content that we created got seen. It got in front of people. SEO was not the only way to get it in front of people because we had a partnership and we planned together and we had checklists and we knew exactly what we did for different kinds of campaigns. It's like the best feeling when people actually see the work that you're doing. And I know that can be really hard for some content marketers. They create things. They ship it. They're onto the next thing. They don't even know, did anyone even read this? It can be really, really hard. And another thing, too, that I've experienced when working with different clients, you can do the best job writing the landing page copy, writing the content, but if your backend and your website is not set up to facilitate easy conversions, you're not going to be able to produce the results you could in a different environment. As an example, I've seen a website where it's a product page, so you should have a form on a product page and the form should not have a hundred fields. There's all different practices that you just get to know over time, but this particular product page drove people to another page with another... Oh, there's no form. It had a button. You click the button. You go to another product page with another button, and then you go to a third page and then the button doesn't work anymore or the form doesn't work anymore. So all this work that you're doing to get people onto the website to engage them with your content so that they end up going to the product page and requesting a demo feels like for nothing because your website is preventing people from taking the action that you as a content person have worked so hard to get them there. And it's not all on you. Those are problems that can be fixed, but again, you need to have relationships. You need to be able to work together, have common beliefs and mindsets about marketing and common metrics, and not every company has that. It's a huge problem.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And it can feel overwhelming. That's a lot. And I think understanding that not everybody does have it. If you don't, you've got to pick. See it for what it is. Do what you can. Control the things you can. And I think at least understanding what you do have, what you don't have, what you can make a difference with, and what you have to work around, that actually really is a good place to be because you can work with that. Right. Okay. Lastly, before I let you go, we're talking so much about careers, how things are changing and understanding yourself and what path you want to be on and how teams work, and therefore what your opportunities are. We talked a little bit before we got on. As I mentioned, we both have three or almost three kids, almost. We talked about balance or lack thereof, something that I know we both talk a lot about. We're both really passionate about. One more thing. Now more than ever, at least in my career. I started my professional journey just before the last recession. So maybe then, but really I think this is different times. Coming out of a pandemic. Going through this economic downturn. Marketers are already under pressure to do more with less, and I think now there's even more pressure to prove results, do more with less, then you have AI, do it all with AI. That can be overwhelming to say the least. What do you want marketers right now to know about balance, boundaries, fueling yourself while also caring for yourself? What's that all mean to you? How do you do it? What do you want people to know?

Erin Balsa: There are seasons for grinding and seasons for resting. And at some points in your life, based on where you are in your career, where you hope to be, you will need to grind and you'll want to. That's going to motivate you. You're at that phase maybe where you're getting from step one to step two. You're learning how to get things to rank. You're learning how to drive revenue. You're working toward your next promotion. Those are seasons for grinding. But also recognize when you need a season to rest and lean into that and allow yourself to do that. Very simple example for myself. So I realized the other day I had been working for 27 years, which it sounds insane. Working at my max capacity for about nine, and that would be leaving large teams, working in content, working at agencies, startups, running my business on the side, transitioning to a full- time business owner, which I did that about a year and a half ago. And having small children who have activities seven days a week. And at one point, I had two kids, two under two. They were both waking up... I was up eight times a night, then I'm driving them to daycare and driving to the parking garage, getting on the train, going into Boston, walking to my office in the sleet and snow and rain, managing 15 employees, getting in front of clients, doing all this resource management and spreadsheets and Zoom calls and coming back home and doing it all over again in the reverse and packing the bag for the next day. It's just a lot. And when you do something like that for nine years, a really long time, sometimes you just say enough is enough. And since I did start my business, I've been really doing more LinkedIn and doing podcasts, and I've really had to tell myself, we need to analyze. Something has to give because you cannot continue on this way, especially if you're going to add another child to your family and not lose your shit. So for me, I dialed back the LinkedIn because there's no need for me to post five days a week. I did that for the first year and a half to grow my business so that I could quit my job and make a good living, but I don't need to do that. There's no reason to me to post five days a week. I typically book clients six to nine months out. I'm good. I'm totally good. So I've been allowing myself to post two or three times a week. I've been saying no to most podcasts. This is probably the last one I'll do before my maternity leave. I'm going to take four months off without guilt. I've set my business up so I get paychecks, and I'm going to shut down maybe even a little more than four months because I'm hoping to shut down mid- August. I'm not going to work from September to December. And then in Q1, I'm going to take one client and I'm going to see how it goes and slowly build myself back up. Because I hustled so hard for so long, I'm at a place now where I can take a season for rest. There's a lot of pressure to be everywhere and surpass everyone. There's Threads. Threads just came out, the new social channel for anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about. And I see half of the people in my network, " I'm on Threads. I'm on Threads." And they're creating and building an audience

Lindsay Tjepkema: There's already best practices for Threads. And I'm like, " Threads don't even know what best practices for Threads are."

Erin Balsa: So, so dumb.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah.

Erin Balsa: Anyway, I'm not on Threads. I don't care. I don't need to keep building my audience. I have a newsletter list. It's slowly organically growing. That's good enough for me. I'm very happy with my clients. My clients are very happy with me. That's good enough for me. So just knowing when is enough, enough. I'm in a season for rest. I evaluate every single opportunity. And being able to have boundaries is really important in this industry. Having boundaries with your boss. If your boss gives you a project to do and it's 5 PM and you normally leave at 5: 00, okay, yes, I will do this. I have X and X to do first and then I will prioritize this toward the end of the week. That's fine. Unless this is like a house is on fire, we have to do this, you need to stay up tonight. You're the one. You're in control of your schedule, your boundaries. I had some stranger reach out to me just this morning on LinkedIn, being like, " Hey, I created this app where this product is in beta. I want to get your advice." I was like, " What do you mean by advice?" He's like, " Oh, I'd like you to try it and let me know. Does this resonate with this audience?" I'm like, " Cool. I charge$ 300 an hour if you're interested." Of course, I didn't hear from him. But don't let people monopolize your time. Just have your boundaries. That's one great way to keep your mental health in check.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes, absolutely. What I really like about what you said, everything that you just shared, thank you for sharing all of that, is that there is a season. And you didn't say there are seasons where everyone should... at the same time. At no point did you say right now, everyone needs to be leaning in, which is so important because there is so much shared right now on every single channel about what everybody should be doing, how often you should post, how often you should do this. Everybody should have a hustle and a grind and a side hustle and a grind and should be doing all the things. But simultaneously, if you want to find out any of those channels that you should be taking care of yourself and that you should be resting and that no one... You need boundaries. And that if your boss or coworker or partner or whoever it is asks you to do anything that you need to really need to take a break and you need to rest, those are both right for the people who are in those seasons. You need to listen to yourself, your own life context, your own career goals, your own personal goals, your family, your friends, your ecosystem, your job. And you need to make the decisions for yourself about what season you're in. Know that it's a season, it's not a forever. And make those decisions for yourself and lean in when it's time for you to lean in, lean back when it's time for you to lean back, and don't pull other people with you and don't assume that you are where someone else is. One of my favorite quotes is don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle or end.

Erin Balsa: Totally. So smart. That's a great bit of advice to leave people with because it's so damn true.

Lindsay Tjepkema: It is. It is. Well, thank you for being here. Thank you for being possibly one of your last podcasts before you introduce another member to your family. Is there anything else you want to leave people with today, anything that you want people to know or make sure people can find?

Erin Balsa: Yeah, two things. Number one, I am very winded being a very pregnant person, so if I'm breathing heavily in your ear right now, listeners, apologies. I can't help it. Number two, if you would like to keep in touch, please do. I'm the only Erin Balsa on LinkedIn. And I also have a newsletter. I aspire to send it twice a month, but some months, I send it once, and that's okay because like I said, you got to do you. And sometimes my family and my client work, that comes first, my newsletter comes second. So if you'd like to subscribe and check it out, we have a lot of fun there, and it comes out once or twice a month. And you can find that on my website, hausofbold. com.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Very fun. Well, Erin, thank you for being here. Thank you for all of the wisdom. And congratulations on this next journey for you.

Erin Balsa: Thank you so much, Lindsay. It's been a pleasure.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Hey, that's our show. Thanks for joining in. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, and you can find me on Twitter, @ CastedLindsay, and on LinkedIn. You know the drill. If you like this show, you'll like our other episodes too, so consider subscribing, sharing with others, and maybe even leaving a review on your podcast platform of choice. And if you're ready to harness the power of podcasting for your brand strategy, make sure that you click the link in our show notes to subscribe to the Casted newsletter and to all of our shows. You can also go to casted. us for the latest content from our team of experts to yours. Until next time.


In this episode of The Casted Podcast, join host Lindsay Tjepkema as she sits down with content entrepreneur and seasoned marketing leader, Erin Balsa. Discover the invaluable insights Erin gained during her successful career journey, from being a marketing director at The Predictive Index to founding her own business.

Erin shares her experiences leading a dynamic content team and building diverse content, including interactive courses, certifications, and engaging documentaries. Tune in to understand how her passion for category creation and thought leadership reshaped her path and inspired her to launch a business centered around talent optimization.

Delve into the challenges content leaders face when navigating internal conflicts and learn how to align teams for exceptional results. Lindsay and Erin discuss the significance of co-planning and breaking down silos to foster seamless collaboration between marketing, sales, and product teams.

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