Nini’s Internship

Before becoming a part of the Media Link team, I had no prior experience in media or advertising. After completing my 10-week internship, I can proudly say I gained a lot of knowledge. Not only did I learn a lot of technical skills like analyzing a business’ online presence through Google Analytics, but I also learned some interpersonal skills such as fostering relationships with clients. This opportunity has given me access to learn more about the marketing field while making professional and personal connections I will never forget.

As I head into my second year at the University of Chicago, I will have to declare my major. My time at Media Link will help me make this decision. While I enjoyed my time at Media Link, I know now I will not major in marketing. Despite this realization, I have accumulated a multitude of skills that will be applicable to most occupations.

Working with Media Link exposed me to the charm of the Quad Cities. I am originally from Boston and go to school in Chicago. I have never lived in a place like the Quad Cities before. At first, adjusting to the change was uncomfortable, but Natalie helped me along the way. She also allowed me to appreciate the interconnectivity of the Quad Cities community. Everyone knew each other and relied on each other in some way, no matter how big or small of a role they played in the community. The businesses we worked with helped me learn about the QC culture and its values. Learning how the appeal of the QC despite never living here, was a challenge at first, but eventually this experience enhanced my ability to acclimate and cater to every business. 

When you are involved with big corporations, you can sometimes forget the extreme effort and will it takes for a business to thrive and prosper. It is not just the numbers, consultations and money pushing a business, but most importantly the people behind all the operations. This small business allowed me to see this passion behind the scenes. People who live to work are always trying to progress their business and share their services, because they believe it would benefit the community. I only hope to have as much dedication as the people and businesses I worked with this summer.

 Overall, this internship was a wonderful opportunity that gave me insight on my future endeavors and long-lasting relationships I would not trade for anything else. Media Link has not only become a place I grew to appreciate, but also a place where I fostered an amazing family.

Welcome Nini!

The Media Link Team is excited to announce a new Marketing Assistant! Nini Nguyen, welcome on board!

Nini Nguyen is a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago. She plans to major in Global Studies and Public Policy. She plans to go to law school after finishing her undergraduate education. While Nini has worked in other professional sectors, this is her first time in marketing and advertising. She is open to new opportunities and learning experiences. 

This is also Nini’s first time in the Quad Cities, having grown up in Boston and going to college in Chicago she has never lived outside of a major city. She is having a lot of fun learning about the Quad Cities and all it has to offer. Through Media Link she was exposed to the city’s culture and businesses, “I like how community-based the Quad Cities are. I feel like I’m learning so much about the city’s history through local companies,” Nini shares. 

One of her favorite pastimes is going to art museums. She recently visited Figge and was impressed by the Anne Lindberg: think like the river with poet Ginny Threefoot exhibit and the Alexander Calder model. 

Your Personal Brand and Your Business Brand

When we think of Branding, we usually thinking of Brands in Business. However, it’s just as important to think about your personal brand and how it may be tied to your business’ brand. 

The concept of intermingling the personal brand with the business brand goes back years, decades, even centuries. Even in an age of multi-national corporations, chain retailers and restaurants, we all have a favorite local shop or restaurant. Then when we think of that business, the business owner is often who comes to mind. 

Of course, the same can be true of huge companies. As Forbes reports, Steve Jobs is still tied to Apple, both in terms of products and branding, nearly eleven years after his death. Certainly we think of Colonel Sanders when we drive by KFC, even though the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken passed away in 1980.

Some business owners may truly want to stay anonymous and behind the scenes. Not everyone wants to be front and center, and it’s not the right role for every business owner. However, it’s worth taking some time to think about whether you would relish that role, and if so, how best to place yourself and your personal brand within the context of your business brand.

If you’ve decided your personal brand should be tied to your business brand, then it’s important to be conscious of how you’re interacting with the public on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not merely an online place to congregate with friends, those sites are an opportunity to strengthen both your personal and business brand. You can read more about building your personal brand from Forbes here.

Mammoths vs Boutiques, Which is Right for You?

We are a boutique agency. It is the business we know and love. Certainly, there are advantages to big agencies for certain clients. If you own, say, Ford Motor Company, you have a lot more marketing and advertising needs than an in-house team and boutique agency can handle. A huge client like Ford needs a big agency. However, big agencies are not right for every business.

As Forbes says of boutique agencies, “These new agencies were born because the mammoth marketing agencies acted like, well, mammoths — woolly mammoths, to be more precise: big, awkward and unable to adapt.”

Thriveverge points out that boutique agencies offer a more personalized approach. This is where boutique agencies working together with small and medium-sized businesses can really thrive. “Smaller, more experienced staff in a boutique marketing firm atmosphere ensures that top talent touches all accounts,” they report. “From conception to execution, boutique agencies are committed to quality.”

For some businesses, the mammoth might very well be the best option. For most smaller and medium-sized businesses, the mammoth can be too big, and the nimbler boutique agencies are often the best choice.

Careers in Digital Media for the Leaders of the Future

As Whitney Houston once sang, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” Whitney released that song 36 years ago, and many of the children she was singing about then now have their own children who are the future. That’s how life goes, always changing, and the media and advertising business is no different.

Media Link President Natalie Linville-Mass had the honor of speaking to children moving quickly on their way to young adulthood at Edison Junior High School last week. Natalie was there along with friends at MindFire Communications and Abernathy’s as part of a Career Fair sponsored by the Moline Foundation focused on careers in digital media. “I am happy to have the chance to participate and hope the kids had a great time and even learned a little bit about this ever changing field,” Natalie said after the event. 

“The students gained a lot from today,” said Susan Zelnio, Program Director of the Moline Foundation, “even when they didn’t look like they are paying attention!”

For Media Link, talking to young people about careers in this field is an ongoing part of giving back to the community and helping to offer guidance to the leaders of the future. “This past year, I have also volunteered to speak with AVID Junior and High School classes about what we do,” says Natalie. These were classes taught at Washington, Edison, and Rock Island High School.

Some of the topics Natalie discussed with students were the importance of brand recognition in advertising, how advertising helps small businesses, and careers that are tied to digital advertising, including careers as copywriters, graphic designers, and what it’s like to work for different kinds of firms. This next generation is a digital generation, and the field is constantly changing, yet as the leaders of the future, we know they’ll be ready.

Sharing our wisdom and knowledge is all part of the mission of Media Link, and it’s also a treat that doing so reminds us of a fabulous Whitney Houston song.

To blog or not to blog?

With apologies to Hamlet:

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler for the business to publish
The musings and insights of one’s expertise
Or to put one’s marketing efforts into a sea of hashtags
On social media, and let the blog slip idly by unwritten. 

The decision to blog isn’t quite the existential threat Hamlet faces in his soliloquy, but for marketing purposes, it can be pretty important. But how important, exactly? Blogging is one of those marketing efforts that takes a lot of time. And let’s face it, we’re not writing Shakespearean soliloquies, we’re trying to bring awareness to our client’s businesses.

According to Hubspot, companies that blog have much better marketing results than companies that don’t. Blogging companies have 55% more visitors to their websites, with 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages. This means not only are a lot more visitors coming to your website, but you’re also going to show up in more search engine results.

For those of us in the content marketing business, we know it can take some convincing for companies to jump into blogging. It takes a lot more time and effort to write a blog than it does to post a marketing message to social media. Fortunately for business owners, they don’t have to do all the work themselves. They can turn to marketing and advertising agencies for help with blogging. And blogging is about more than just driving traffic to your website.

As Forbes reports, a blog builds authority and trust in a business. When a customer is looking for a product or service, and two competing businesses look similar, the business with a regular blog will establish a stronger sense of trustworthiness and expertise in the customer’s mind.

Blogs are not just about selling products and services though. They are a way to communicate with customers, to let them get to know a business in a different way than social media allows. It’s a way to let customers know about the direction a business is heading, and a way to ask customers for their input.

As Small Business Trends wrote last year, blogging has been around since the beginning of the internet, but it’s still an important way to communicate with customers, establish expertise for your business, develop business leads, and educate customers about not just products, but the details of how your business works. Blogging is still worth it.

Always Adapt and Grow

If you are of a certain age, you may remember the phrase “World Wide Web.” The phrase was ubiquitous in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The World Wide Web still exists and most of us use it nearly every day. However, at some point, it got shortened to “The Web” or “The Internet” in our vernacular, even though the Web is technically only one piece of the actual Internet. Things change in language, so we also need to be aware of trends and changes in our business.

Back when we were using “World Wide Web” as a common phrase, it was becoming increasingly common for companies to have their own websites. In the beginning, it was generally large companies and tech firms with websites, but at a certain point, every business needed a website, whether you were an auto manufacturer or make wood carvings out of your garage. Then with the rise of social media, this too began to change. Just look at the restaurant industry.

While most restaurants still have websites, many do not. It was not long ago that every restaurant needed a website. However, now it is becoming more common for a restaurant to direct all their online marketing through a social media platform such as Facebook. Social media has replaced the necessity of the website for many restaurants. They can post menus on their Facebook page, along with photos of customers enjoying food and even post quick updates about changes in hours.

 know where this evolution of the Internet and social media will take us, but it is important for us to keep pace with the trends and be aware of them as they come, so we can help market our clients in the best way possible.

Curiosity is Key

One of the most wonderful things about working in marketing and advertising is the opportunity to continually learn new things as you get to know your clients and their businesses. At Media Link, we find it helps to be genuinely curious, whether it’s a business that’s completely new to you or a type of business you’ve been marketing for years. 

Even the same types of businesses will benefit from curiosity in marketing. Two cupcake shops may have completely different marketing needs, depending on what kinds of cupcakes they make, their core customers, and where they are located. Curiosity will lead to finding the best individual solutions for each client. As Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Obviously from a client perspective, it helps to have a curious team behind your marketing strategy. Yet for those of us who work in marketing, it also makes our lives richer and more interesting. We can learn about the needs of a cupcake shop one day, and then learn all about a unique metal-smithing business the next day. 

As Media Link President, Natalie Linville-Mass said about the future of marketing in a 2021 interview, “This evolution is far from over. Our crew continues to learn as each new technology and communications company emerges. Who knows what the next 20 years will bring?” Curiosity and a love of learning is key to staying on top of trends, seeing the future, and connecting with your client’s needs.

Curiosity is also a virtue that keeps marketers learning new trends and coming up with new marketing ideas. Online marketing was virtually non-existent 20 years ago. As Natalie said, we don’t know what the future will bring, but we’re sure curious to find out.

Welcome Lauren!!

Media Link is thrilled to announce we have a new Marketing Coordinator. Welcome to the team, Lauren!

Lauren Alexis Wood is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Southern New Hampshire University. She comes to Media Link with an eclectic background spanning multiple industries. Having worked in healthcare, education and media sales, she brings a diverse mix of skills and experience to the team.

Lauren is also an avid writer and has over a dozen children’s books and works of fiction published, many through her own small press, Paradisiac Publishing. Lauren is ecstatic to join the Media Link team as her original dream job out of college was to work for an advertising agency.

At Media Link, she is learning the entire business from the inside out and she feels she is learning from the best, President Natalie Linville-Mass. “Not only am I joining a company that’s been running for over two decades but getting to be a part of a successful woman-owned business is a huge motivator for me just starting my career in advertising.” she said.

Lauren lives in Davenport, loves listening to live music and spending time with her friends and family.

Welcome Josh!

The Media Link Team is thrilled to announce we have a new Content Specialist! Josh Boelter, welcome to our team!

Josh Boelter is a writer, researcher, and producer with experience in a variety of industries.  Josh’s career has taken him from marketing communications at a Silicon Valley startup, to writing a weekly newspaper column, to writing and producing PBS documentaries. Josh moved to the Quad Cities when his partner accepted a position at Augustana College in Rock Island. 

“When Natalie told me about the projects we’d be working on at Media Link, I got really excited,” he says. “These projects are a combination of many of the things I love, from writing to researching, to learning about history and presenting it in a meaningful way to the public. It takes advantage of my skills and experience in a similar way to producing documentaries.” Josh is thrilled to be learning about the history of the Quad Cities from local historian Linda Anderson and Media Link President Natalie Linville-Mass, as well as the many wonderful people he’s met since starting this job. 

Josh lives in Rock Island with his partner and their two cats. When he isn’t researching and writing for Media Link, he follows the ups and downs of his favorite football (soccer) teams, FC Barcelona in Spain and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.