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.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Media Link

Time flies! It is hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Natalie Linville-Mass founded Media Link. She began the agency because she believed there was a need for a different way of serving clients. Linville-Mass wanted to rethink the relationship between agency and client, to give the client more information about how their needs were being met. She wanted a more personal approach. She saw a path to better serve her clients, and felt a responsibility to follow that path by forming her own agency.

This approach is also how the Media Link office works. Everyone who works at Media Link becomes part of the team, not just an employee. Linville-Mass wants her employees to feel empowered in the work they do, and in the relationships, they forge within the office, and with clients.

Media Link is not just a business in the community, it is truly part of the community. “Nothing works in a vacuum,” says Linville-Mass. “What you give to the community, the community gives back to you.” The Quad Cities has been a community that has given back in droves. The Chambers of Commerce in Illinois, Bettendorf, and Davenport were instrumental in getting the business off the ground, and have added layers of support throughout the years.

“If you see a need for something, it’s up to you to do it,” says Linville-Mass. It is a philosophy she lives by, so when she saw a need for a different way for agencies to collaborate with clients, she started her own agency. That is how Media Link began 20 years ago, and it is the philosophy that keeps Media Link thriving today.

Here’s to another 20 years!

Part-Time Office Manager — Apply Today


Media Link Inc. is a full-service strategic communications and advertising agency located in Rock Island, Illinois. Our 20-year company collaborates with our clients in developing and executing their marketing. We help companies with everything from social media posts to blogs, to websites, to menus/brochures to focus groups to digital and traditional ad campaigns and all marketing duties in between.

Media Link Software® (MLS), a division of Media Link founded 10 years ago is an intuitive system which tracks all forms of media and creates invaluable cross-platform reports. Some of our best features include automatic invoice checking, a tracking system for multiple generations of make-goods, and post-buy analysis.

QC PastPort, Media Link’s newest division, provides destinations where curious minds meet narratives from the past. We do this by offering self-guided, interactive, physical and digital tours throughout the Quad Cities.


We are looking for a meticulous, number-cruncher with a degree in accounting or bookkeeping for an office manager position within our firm. Someone who loves numbers and solving puzzles will thrive in this position. 


In this position, you will be responsible for reconciling media invoices, assist in the development of client proposals and Request for Proposals (RFPs), develop and track applications for Government Registrations and Certifications and you will be responsible for the maintenance and flow of our office. These tasks would include keeping our equipment and systems running, assisting with customer inquiries, maintain our records and assist with budget development and tracking. With this position, there will also be an opportunity to help with remote sales efforts for Media Link products and services. 


This is a weekday, on-site position for 15-25 hours a week with hourly pay, plus commission.


If you are interested in pursuing this position, please send a resume and cover letter to Natalie Linville-Mass at 

Part-Time Content Specialist – Apply Today

Media Link Inc. is a full-service strategic communications and advertising agency located in Rock Island, Illinois. Our 20-year-old company collaborates with our clients in developing and executing their marketing.  We help companies with everything from social media posts, to blogs, to websites, to menus/brochures to focus groups to digital and traditional ad campaigns and all marketing duties in between.

Media Link has also developed a division of our company named, QC PastPort with regional partnerships throughout the region.  We are now actively developing destinations through the Quad Cities with this Division by creating and placing signage around the Quad Cities area to highlight forgotten and fascinating historic sites. People visiting these locations will be able to use a location-driven app to learn more about the history of each destination from both an article in the app and an audio history told in a first-person point of view.


We are looking for someone with a degree in communications with an ability to demonstrate their writing skills.  Sharing past writing samples and demonstrating your writing skills will be a part of the application process.


We are seeking someone to assist in researching and writing content in the form of historic narratives, blogs, posts, RFPs, news releases and other copy related needs within Media Link.

This person will also need to assist with taking pictures/video for our content and have the ability to reach out to vendors, potential clients and news outlets with related public relations efforts.


For right now, this is a week-day position for 15-25 hours a week with the possibility to earn commission.  We are open to working from home and have the flexibility to work within other commitments.  The ability to be in the Quad Cities would be valuable, because this employee will benefit from visiting sites and eventually meeting our partners in person.


If you are interested in pursuing this position, please send a resume and cover letter to Grace Bradley-Leon at