Blogs Matter, Now More Than Ever

Blogs Matter, Now More Than Ever

Blog. It sounds like something that the cat coughed up, but it’s actually a shortening of the term “weblog.” The first of its kind was an online diary written by a fellow named Justin Hall back in 1994.

To know the origin of the blog doesn’t answer the greater question, however: why are blogs important to marketing your senior community? Or marketing in general?

Some content marketers (and even more of their clients) don’t completely understand the benefit of blogging or the difference between news and blogs.

Do you, dear reader, believe that blogs are necessary to successful content marketing? Do you question whether a blog should still be included in your budget, what with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and many more online platforms clamoring for consumers’ attention?

Whatever your opinion, know this: the blog as a marketing tool is alive and well – and here to stay.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

  • More than 152 million blogs exist on the Internet
  • A new blog is published every 0.5 seconds
  • 77% of web users regularly read blogs
  • Companies that blog receive 97% more links to their websites
  • A quarter of all websites are blogs
  • 55% of marketers say blogging is their top inbound marketing priority
  • The COVID pandemic is changing readers’ behavior, and online consumption of written material (as well as products and services) is dramatically increasing

Stats are great, but they don’t tell the whole story of why blogs are so important to sales and marketing.

Here’s what a well-researched, well-written blog that lives on your site can do. But first, “lives on your site” is key. Countless social media platforms attempt to drive traffic to your site, but a blog is owned content consumers can access directly from your URL – and you can be sure it will keep them there longer than a Snapchat ad.

The Almighty SEO

Search engine optimization is the name of the game, and blogs do it best. That’s because content-rich blogs contain keywords and phrases people organically use to search various topics on the web. Search engines (e.g., Google) “crawl” the Internet and rank sites by how well their blogs naturally incorporate these words and phrases and, more importantly, how well they engage their readers and address their needs. The higher the ranking, the more prominent place a site will have on the search engine results page (SERP), and the more likely people will click on that site over another. Blogs also provide ample link-building opportunities, a critical factor of SEO.

A word to the wise, however: search engine algorithms are getting smarter all the time, increasingly able to identify and weed out content that crams in keywords, tags and other metadata solely for the sake of manipulating SEO.

What will never change is the importance of quality content that matters personally to your target audience. That’s what matters to the search engines, too, and that’s what’s going to get eyeballs on your website more than anything else.

Other Powers of Blog

Builds trust in your brand. Whether your blog informs, advocates, educates, supports, entertains, inspires…if it’s relevant to your consumers and has a positive effect on them, they will not only spend more time on your site, they will begin to trust you as a capable answer to their needs.
Establishes you as a thought leader. A well-researched, well-written blog establishes you as an expert in your field. During this time of pandemic disproportionately affecting senior citizens, senior living is particularly in need of an authoritative voice in the move forward during and after COVID-19. Indeed, online media caters to the tiny attention span of most humans, but people reading a blog want a more comprehensive exploration of a subject that interests them. They expect a deeper dive, and they’re likely to come back for more time and again. To that point, timely, regular blogging is key.
Many learn best by reading. There are four basic learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. While video has indisputable marketing benefits, many people learn best through the written word. According to one study, learning by reading is the second most common of the four main types.

Blogs Sell, Especially Now

Plain and simple, for all the reasons listed above and more, blogs increase traffic to your site considerably – even exponentially when they’re shared. Especially now during the coronavirus pandemic, people are doing business more and more online, from the safety of their homes. This includes virtual tours of your senior community and greater consumption of your site’s content.

There has never been a more opportune time to understand the importance of blogging to your marketing efforts and to invest in this powerful digital strategy.

Backed by 30 years of marketing and public relations experience in senior living and services, IVY’s team of writers, designers and digital strategists can help you leverage the unique power of blogging – especially now.

Contact us today to find out how blogging and our complete array of services can increase your visibility in the senior living space and PROP up your occupancy.








Blurred Lines: Blog and News are Not the Same

Blurred Lines: Blog and News are Not the Same

Ever wonder why some websites have both a news section and a blog section? Aren’t they the same thing? No, they are definitely two different animals, though the lines between them have blurred over the years and many people, including marketers, are understandably confused.

What is News?
Inbound marketing certified professional Michael Reynolds says it well: “Think of your news section as an area for press releases.” You wouldn’t think of a press release as a blog, right? Of course you wouldn’t. You know that a press release is primarily about news relating to your company. You’ve opened a new facility, released a new product or service, hired a new executive, received an award, have an upcoming event, and so on.

The news section of your site is also where any published articles relating to your company should appear, linking to the article on the publishing site (an online newspaper or magazine, for example). This boosts credibility and increases SEO. Despite perceptions of homogeneity between news and blogs, news is still defined as being more official – even scholarly – in tone and written from a third-person perspective.

Furthermore, “real news”—it’s hard to resist the temptation to distinguish it from the “fake news” we hear so much about these days!—should be objective and not an endorsement of any particular angle or brand. At the same time, news on your company’s site should always support your brand and be presented objectively with a discerning eye for accuracy, honesty and transparency. The principles of ethical public relations must always be upheld, regardless of your end goals of healthy ROI.

What are Blogs?
It used to be that blogs were short, breezy, casual, light on research, tone and even grammatical precision. But now that marketers have embraced the fact that “content is king,” the Internet is teeming with blogs, and the bar has raised. Blogs are now lengthier, buttressed by more research (including interviews), and no longer do they escape the sharp eye of an editor.

But there are still significant differences between blogs and news. Blogs are for discussing topics relevant to your prospective market(s) and location, not necessarily your company. They are also more conversational in tone and often employ the second person (“you”), creating a sense of connection and personal relationship to readers.

Blogs can even be written in the first person, though that perspective can cast an “opinion” light on your piece, which is not ideal for marketing purposes. You still want to maintain an “expert” position, though you can certainly use more familiar language. Humor, pop culture, and a spot of personality can also be infused, wherever appropriate.

More than news, blogs epitomize the essence of successful content marketing, which is to engage, not “sell,” your audiences. Blogs should inform, answer questions, solve problems, entertain, delight, intrigue, compel, motivate, inspire, be different…whatever the benefit, they should be personally meaningful to your audiences in ways that have nothing to do with making a purchase. Adding questions at the end to encourage engagement and conversation also enhances your blog’s effectiveness and virality.

Most importantly, blogs are incomparably effective in gaining the trust of your audiences and return visits for more information, and nothing is more valuable than that.

Which to Use?
Ideally, both, though Michael Reynolds describes blogs as a necessity and news as a luxury. By that distinction, blogs should take priority over news. Yet, as we said, having both is ideal. Blogs earn trust and return visits better than news, and news demonstrates credibility and that reputable sources see value in your company better than blogs.

Despite the fuzzy distinction between news and blogs, there are still significant differences between the two, and knowing what those distinctions are goes a long way toward a more clearly defined strategy for both content marketers and the clients they serve.

Let our marketing and PR experts help you meaningfully engage your audiences by leveraging both news and blogs to the best of their distinct and individual abilities.

Does your website have a blog section but not a news section? A news section but not a blog section? Both? Neither? Please let us know in the area below and tell us how you made your news/blog decisions. 



Your Company Needs a Blog – It Really Does

Your Company Needs a Blog – It Really Does

The Numbers Don’t Lie
First, the facts: 1) Blogs generate 67% more leads than other content marketing; 2) 81% of online consumers trust information from a blog; 3) 61% of those consumers have made a purchase based on a blog; and 4) 60% feel more positive about a company after reading its blog.

Why are blogs so powerful? There are several reasons, which we’ll get to, but let’s start with a scenario.

A Blog Awakening
Mr. and Mrs. Brown have just become grandparents for the first time. It seems to them, in all their years of parenting wisdom, that their grandchild sleeps too much…like, 22 hours a day. They’re worried, but they don’t want to be those grandparents – the ones who stick their noses where they don’t belong. Besides, the baby’s parents aren’t exactly complaining about getting a full night’s sleep.

To gain reliable information about their new grandchild’s sleeping habits, the Browns search online with such questions as “How much is too much sleep for a newborn?” or “Can a baby sleep too much?” or (if they’re really thinking ahead) “Will a baby who sleeps too much become a lazy adult?”.

Bang! Answers, answers, answers. Some are scary (we all know those “Dr. Google” searches!), but most assure the Browns that excessive sleeping in a newborn is, in fact, quite normal and even healthy. Whew. And bless that baby supplies website whose blog offered them the most complete, authoritative information on babies and sleep.

Say, after a few months, when their grandchild proves that she is indeed capable of opening her eyes for more than two hours a day, the Browns are looking for the crib they offered to buy when baby was old enough to move from her bassinet. Where do they go? You got it – the baby supplies website that eased their insomnia over their grandchild’s hypersomnia.

Benefits of the Blog
Website Traffic. Having a blog is a very inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website. In our scenario above, the grandparents were drawn to – not pushed into – the baby supplies website because of a need for information. The company’s blog provided it, without a hint of a sales pitch.
Search Engine Recognition. The dynamic nature of blogging will keep your website active and ranking healthily among search engines. Most website pages are relatively static, not changing much, but each blog post creates another indexed page on your site that is recognized by search engines.
Social Media Sharing. If it’s good, your blog content – which should be either informational, educational, inspirational, entertaining, or a combination thereof, and never sales-oriented – can be shared on your social media (repurposing your blog content) and is likely to be shared on consumers’ social media, driving even more traffic to your site. If you enable comments on your blog, you’ll gain even greater consumer engagement and insight into your audience.
Trust and Authority. People search the Web for three basic reasons: “Answer Me” (46%); “Educate Me” (26%) and “Inspire Me” (28%). Keeping our scenario in mind, if you can answer your customers’ questions and satisfactorily address their concerns, you are an authority in their eyes, especially because the blog is owned content that comes from you, not a third party.
Lead Generation. Think again of the grandparents in our scenario, who bought a crib from the baby supplies company whose blog provided such valuable information…not about cribs, but about babies and sleep. It should be clear why that company was the one they chose to purchase from. That’s the real power of the blog.
Compounding Results. Without delving too deeply into the forest of evergreen and decaying blog posts (click here for more about compounding blogs), suffice it to say that the more blogs you write that are relevant anytime, the more impact they’ll have over longer periods, picking up steam, rather than dying off. Blogs you wrote weeks or months ago are still ranking in search engines and still earning you consumers’ trust and prospective business.

Relationships: A Real-Life Blog Story
Let’s leave our scenario behind to offer a real-life example of the power of blog, whereby a man named John Thorsen came to learn about one of his ancestors. Thorsen is a Danish American whose random Google search for his great-great grandmother, Emma Thorsen, resulted in his discovery of a popular weekly blog associated with the senior living community Emma founded 125 years ago. He had no idea of the influence of his relative or what she accomplished, and his life and family are newly enriched by what he’s learned. Talk about the power of a blog! While Thorsen’s case is unique, a regular blog can capture and hold a faithful audience following for years to come.

Blogging is influential and affordable. How many content marketing strategies can you say that about? However, (there’s always a “however,” right?), it can be time-consuming and difficult to discern which topics to discuss. Blogging also requires skilled writing and proficiency with SEO (search engine optimization). The right marketing team can help plug you into the Power of the Blog.

Ivy Marketing Group. Come Grow With Us.

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!


IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.


As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.


All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.


It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.


Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!


Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!


Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.


I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.


My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!


I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.


I love being able to use my skills to help improve other people’s lives, and with a growing elderly population, it’s important to create meaningful and user-friendly digital solutions to aid the senior living industry.I have a wide range of technology and design skills with a deep interest in Human-Computer Interaction– helping IVY provide outstanding web design and print design services. IVY has a long-proven track record of excellence, and I’m proud to be able to help carry on that tradition.