Category Archives: About Us

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.

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 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 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.

Qualifications:

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.

Responsibilities:

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.

Compensation:

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.

Apply:

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

Marketing Coordinator/ Marketing Consultant Position – Apply Today

The selected candidate will work in the capacity of Marketing Coordinator for Media Link, Inc. 70% of the time, and in the capacity of Marketing Consultant for Media Link Software® 30% of the time.

The Marketing Coordinator position coordinates established Media Link clients’ advertising efforts, maintains proper office workflows, and contributes to digital campaign management. The Marketing Consultant position generates and manages Media Link Software® (MLS) client accounts. Training and mentoring will be provided.

 

Duties – Marketing Coordinator for Media Link, Inc.

  • Manage paid digital, organic social media, and SEO campaigns.
  • Research and develop content for blogs, eblasts, ads, scripts, websites, QC PastPort historical sites, etc.
  • Report on campaign performance metrics and propose optimization efforts.
  • Prepare advertising schedules for broadcast, digital, print, outdoor and specialty buys in Media Link Software®.
  • Develop proposals and presentations for clients.
  • Stay informed about marketing trends and best practices.
  • Reconcile affidavits/invoices in Media Link Software® and address issues.
  • Contributing to established office procedures.
  • Be the welcoming and professional first impression of the Media Link team.
  • Generate and manage your own Media Link client accounts as Media Link Marketing Consultant, eventually.

 

Duties – Marketing Consultant for Media Link Software®

  • Research, contact, and follow-up on leads.
  • Manage new MLS accounts.
  • Conduct webinars for prospective and active MLS clients.
  • Test, and proactively contribute to new MLS features as they are developed.

 

Requirements

  • Aptitude in market research.
  • Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills.
  • Desire to sell and working knowledge of the sales process.
  • Organizational skills and attention to details.
  • Pro-active, data-driven learner and curious about the emerging world of advertising and marketing.
  • Working knowledge of paid digital and organic social media.
  • Google Certified a plus, but not required.
  • College degree in the field of communications.

 

Benefits

  • Base hourly rate.
  • Commission and gas stipend.
  • Seminar stipend for continued education.
  • 12 paid holidays throughout the year. Vacation and PTO available after six months.
  • Health Insurance with an HSA or a TASC Plan after 6 months of employment.
  • A Simple IRA Plan available after 1 year of full-time employment, with company match.

 

Please email resume and cover letter to natalie@medialinkinc.com.

Grab your PastPort — It’s Time to Travel Back in Time

The Quad Cities area is rife with history, from the booming businesses that got our area up and running to the neighborhoods where folks first settled. Learn more about it later this spring with QC PastPort, a new and innovative way to take a walk through the past and discover fascinating and forgotten historic sites in our area.

With the help of some regional partnerships, Media Link, Inc. is developing a location-driven app, website, and signage to highlight historic spots across the Quad Cities. When you visit a QC PastPort destination, signs will offer background information about what you’re seeing, and the app and website will offer a more detailed overview, with first-person accounts, audio narratives, and more to tell you about the places and areas you see.

Our interactive physical and digital tour will offer a peek at this area’s cultural history through the experiences of the people who once lived here. Our area has a long and rich history; it’s part of what attracts people to our area and makes us unique. This area has helped shape many entrepreneurs and amazing people from all walks of life. Celebrating and learning more about our area will help visitors and residents alike understand the significance of who we are and where we come from, which will help propel our area to grow responsibly and with a better sense of pride.

This project also will help amplify the voices of all of the cultures and people who do and once called this place their home, from Black Union Soldiers to the Hispanic communities who settled here.

Get ready to explore our area! Visit qcpastport.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information, upcoming contests, and more.

The Evolution of Media Link – Part I

Twenty years ago, PalmPilot in hand, I was bringing Gendron Advertising to life in the Union Arcade building downtown Davenport.

It was a month after 9/11, and commercials were not airing because of the 24-hour news coverage of the aftermath. Saturday Night Live was pushed back for about three weeks, because they could not pull together a show after this kind of tragedy. Even the Emmys were postponed for about a month because no one felt good about celebrating during this time. Businesses felt unsteady about advertising and about what this meant for their business and our community.

Everything was chaotic and everyone was essentially waiting for the other shoe to drop. Needless to say, this was not the best time to start an advertising agency, but my personal circumstances dictated that this was the right time for me to try.

 

In 2001, digital advertising was not a thing, and having a website was a bonus, not an absolute.

My Nielsen and Arbitron ratings were contained in a literal book, and the newest advancement in the field was that cable was starting to pick up ratings. This meant the duopoly, Strata and SmartPlus, needed to figure out how to handle cable programming in their software.

At the time, I was licensed with SmartPlus, so I had to look up the ratings by program. This made it difficult to see which shows had good ratings, because you could not look at the big picture. In addition, a module did not exist for publications, phone books or outdoor, so those buys needed to be produced by hand in Excel. Yes, I said phone books! Back then, most businesses dedicated part of their budget to phone books, because they were the only tool you could use to find phone numbers for people and businesses.

Blackberries and Palm Pilots were the modes you used to get in touch with people and stay organized. If you needed to call someone, you used your landline.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, our first office got its start in the Union Arcade building with a corner spot on the fifth floor. The space had an individual office for me, an area for my assistant, a place to meet with customers and an alcove for storage. It was a great setting for our first place, with lots of windows, which is a big deal to me.  We could open them to let in fresh air, so long as we were mindful of the pigeons threatening to fly through the office.

The staff was so welcoming and there was something uplifting about working in an area with so much activity.  Unfortunately, there were also parking meters.  This forced folks to continuously look at the clock to make sure they did not get a ticket when they were meeting with us at our office.

 

In May 2006, Gendron Advertising became Media Link.

I wanted this business to grow.  I also wanted to make sure anyone who worked with me could take ownership in their work, which can be hard to do with someone else’s name on the business. We also took advantage of the many older homes we are lucky to have in this area and moved our business our current location at 1902 17th Street in Rock Island.

Our move gave us the freedom to make the building our own, but it took a lot of work. The home we purchased was built in 1874, so we had to update the plumbing and electrical while reimagining the space as a true office.

This space has transformed over the years.  We still have some updates to make, but we have no parking meters, everyone can see their cars, everyone can see outside and it is a home.  So, it is truly a comfortable place to work.

 

It is crazy to think about how much has changed over the past twenty years within the field of marketing and in how we communicate.

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?

Open Marketing Coordinator/ Marketing Consultant Position

The selected candidate will work in the capacity of Marketing Coordinator for Media Link, Inc. 60% of the time, and in the capacity of Marketing Consultant for Media Link Software® 40% of the time.

The Marketing Coordinator position coordinates established Media Link clients’ advertising efforts, maintains proper office workflows, and contributes to digital campaign management. The Marketing Consultant position generates and manages Media Link Software® (MLS) client accounts.

 

Duties – Marketing Coordinator for Media Link, Inc.

  • Be the welcoming and professional first impression of the Media Link team.
  • Ensure established office procedures are maintained.
  • Prepare proposed advertising schedules for broadcast, digital, print, outdoor and specialty buys in Media Link Software®.
  • Reconcile affidavits/invoices in Media Link Software® and address issues.
  • Stay informed about marketing trends and best practices.
  • Develop and update presentations assigned to you for client meetings and projects.
  • Manage paid digital, organic social media, and SEO campaigns.
  • Report on campaign performance metrics and propose optimization efforts.
  • Generate and manage your own Media Link client accounts as Media Link Marketing Consultant, eventually.

 

Duties – Marketing Consultant for Media Link Software®

  • Research, contact, and follow-up on leads.
  • Manage established and new MLS accounts.
  • Eventually perform the same duties for Media Link leads and client accounts.
  • Conduct webinars for prospective and active MLS clients.
  • Test, and proactively contribute to, new MLS features as they are developed.

 

Requirements

  • Some working knowledge of media buying.
  • Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills.
  • Desire to sell and working knowledge of the sales process.
  • Organizational skills and attention to details.
  • Pro-active learner and curious about the emerging world of advertising and marketing.
  • Working knowledge of paid digital and organic social media.
  • Google Certified a plus, but not required.
  • College degree in the field of communications.

 

Benefits

  • Base hourly rate
  • Commission
  • Gas stipend
  • Seminar stipend for continued education.
  • 12 paid holidays throughout the year. Vacation available after six months.
  • Health Insurance with an HSA or a TASC Plan after 6 months of employment.
  • A Simple IRA Plan available after 1 year of full-time employment, with company match.

 

Please email resume and cover letter to natalie@medialinkinc.com.

Intern Spotlight: Joshua Richardson

*Written by Joshua Richardson

Since my first day at Media Link, I only had my background in Sociology to add to the team. I was not familiar with marketing; I knew what it looked like, a few tricks that would work for influencers, but I knew nothing about how to make it as a business. I honestly did not have much to add to the team aside from my understanding from the individual versus the market. Marketing felt like a foreign language to me when I first came into the office, now it feels like something I should have been speaking my entire life.

Now, I have gotten the chance to expand what I know and what I can do with my major in the real world. I even had the chance to expand my understanding of small businesses and how they can all connect in a single city for an agency versus a corporation. I want to acknowledge the great opportunity they still gave me, even while a pandemic was ravaging the planet. That taught me a valuable lesson in organization and crunch time.  When I finally was able to return, we had plenty of work to do since the pandemic started. This taught me to stay cool under pressure and look to my senior staff for guidance. It also taught me to always ask questions. I am only twenty years old, so there is no way I have all the answers. Plus, the people in my office all come from different backgrounds and may have different strategies that can work in situations where I was stumped. Getting to work through this has also shown me what it can look like for an agency when the rest of the economy has fallen into a deep recession and how it can affect small town living and business. I believe this experience has helped me develop genuinely as an adult, but it also was a great chance to improve my skill set in terms of marketing, organizing, and branding for businesses and individuals.

I am excited to see what my work will look like a year from now with the skills I have gotten since working here at Media Link. I am planning to use the experience I received here in marketing to move in a direction towards talent acquisition. It might seem strange to go this direction with direct contracts with hiring staff for temporary jobs or full-time jobs, but the purpose of this strategy is to achieve my end goal of being a Producer.  When I say I want to produce, I mean I want to be that chance for someone to put their creative vision out in the world. I hope when I am working for myself, I can produce Video/Film for Music artists, Movie/Film writers, and market individual clients or groups creative such as graphic designers, animators, and painters. The recruiting background will help me find staff or temporary workers for whatever I need to produce, such as camera operators for films and mixers for musicians. I have already dived headfirst into learning as much as I can about the area of Film and Media during quarantine and I have even added a minor to help me learn at my college before I graduate. One day I dream that I can own my own studio, so I can do all of these things in one place. I would then take my team to some of the worst-off places in the States to give those kids an opportunity to be successful.

I recommend future interns pay close attention to smaller businesses, because a lot is happening and you will have an opportunity to prove yourself in many ways. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, even if this is your first internship. This is how you get better at your job. Finally, ask questions. Everyone in the office is here to make you a better advertiser for the future. Do not be afraid to use the resources and people that are here for you to learn.