The Professional

After over a decade of working exclusively in the agency world, I made a shift to join WordPress.com as the Head of Community Growth. In this role, I’m actively working to connect our creators with each other and build a community that inspires and connects those who are chasing their passions and telling their stories through the WordPress.com platform.

Before joining Automattic, I spent 6 years at a company called 10up where I lead audience growth, monetization, and measurement and analysis strategies across all our accounts — and for some of the biggest businesses on the planet.

I’ve been hands-on with hyper-specific roles in project management and social media marketing, and have led teams that cover a wide range of services, from UX design and web engineering to full-stack digital marketing.

I love solving hard problems.

I love connecting the right people, brands, and initiatives.

I LOVE making a big impact.

I’ve outlined some of my background below and have also linked my resumé here.

Mike Bal

Data-Driven Strategist • Cross-Discipline Team Leadership • Strategic Patnerships  Program/Project Leader

C-Suite Presentations

Account/Relationship Management

Process Development

Competitive Analysis

Data Science/Strategy

Cross Platform Analytics

Full-Stack Digital Marketing

Product Strategy

Head of Community Growth, WordPress.com

I’m paving the way for a brand new team within growth marketing to engage our customers directly, connect them with each other, support their success, and build community around it all. My work is focused on increasing retention, activation, and lifetime value but, more importantly, it’s focused on driving business results by connecting with customers on a human level. To do this successfully we’ll need to put together a unique combination of skills ranging from full-stack marketing to inspired storytelling and all the way over to rigorous data analysis. I’m just getting started but it’s going to be fun!

Director of Audience & Revenue – 10up

Early on in my tenure at 10up, I developed my own niche style for delivering projects, using a blend of product marketing and project strategy that came from my varied experience and an inability to channel just one train of thought (e.g., I can’t ignore a strategic opportunity just because it’s not my job to call it out). We had a small revenue team focused on site monetization through display advertising and as our company grew, our clients started to request more strategic guidance outside of that core scope of work.

While working as Director of Client Delivery I started playing a more formal role in providing support and direction for this growing discipline and helped to establish core Analytics and SEO services on top of expanding revenue services to include reader revenue and some optimization.

At the end of h1 2019, we saw enough potential and demand for the team to justify shifting me into the full-time role of Director of Audience & Revenue. Since then we’ve grown the team by 50%, rolled out a stand-alone revenue optimization program, and started piloting email marketing and automation services.

Director of Client Delivery – 10up

As a Director of Client Delivery I oversaw project and product delivery across a group of 4+ cross-discipline teams. As one of the first in the role at 10up, I helped establish processes for making the role as efficient and effective as possible by helping to determine ideal team sizes, responsibilities, and methods for the right level of transparency across the broader organization.

In this role, I was challenged to lead leaders and to amplify my contributions to the organization through others. I also provided tactical delivery support in terms of resourcing, crafting strategic delivery plans, measuring project impact/success, and collaborating on account strategy and management.

Sr. Team Lead & Project Manager – 10up

I started at 10up as a Team Lead & Project Manager and quickly advanced, leading the delivery of major projects while supporting the growth and advancement of my team/pod members from all disciplines.

My work in this role helped sharpen my skills as a leader and coach and also brought the opportunity for me to develop a deeper organizational intelligence that helped us develop another level of leadership that helped us effectively double in size over the course of a few years (see my experience as Director of Client Delivery).

The Project Manager piece of this role relied on me being flexible enough to implement and follow a variety of project management methodologies across my projects — Scrum, Agile, Kanban, and many variations on all of them.

Director of Client Success – Single Grain

During this time I was very focused on strategic partnerships, client relationship management, and account strategy, working closely with clients to develop a deep understanding of their goals and collaborating with our team and vendors to craft and execute on strategies to achieve those goals.

I also made a habit of proactively collecting feedback with the team to help refine our approach in how we engage with them — ultimately improving client satisfaction and growing those accounts.

Director of Social Media Marketing – Single Grain

As the Director of Social Media Marketing I helped establish a new set of services for Single Grain focused on leveraging social media channels to drive business results for our clients. Several case studies from my work in this role can be found on my Linkedin profile here.

During this time I established myself as a strategic leader in the social media marketing community and published guides and articles on a variety of different sites like:

Director of Digital Marketing – Baseline 21

Baseline 21 was a small web agency based in Chicago who needed help establishing a better set of tools and processes for delivering client work. I spent most of my time focusing on team development, communication strategies, defining core services, and leading delivery of project work.

My experience in the role helped elevate my natural inclination to improve processes and strive for a strong balance between efficiency and quality. I worked closely with investors, accounts leadership, and the project team to ultimately lead all efforts ranging from account acquisition to marketing of our own company. As with many small startup roles, you learn to wear multiple hats and as a result gain a wide variety of experience.

Social Media Project Manager – One Social Media

Having been part of the first wave of social media users — using it to promote events, concerts, clubs, etc.— I took the first major step of my career into social media marketing. During this time I managed content ideation, strategy, design, and publishing on the blogs and social media channels for a wide variety of businesses and brands — including several best selling authors and national speakers.