Quick Start Settings Guide
Welcome to our one-stop-shop of Merit settings. We've broken our account settings into three sections, essential, recommended, and extra credit.
Looking to start using Merit as soon as possible? You just need to configure four essential settings in your account to start publishing.
Want to dive in and configure all of your settings? They're all on this page, you can set them and forget them and update them when needed.
These settings are considered essential because they're what makes your Merit account yours.
Recommended settings are those that will help you get the most out of your Merit account but are not necessary to set up. We strongly advise you to configure these settings.
If you want to configure all of your Merit settings right at the get-go, here are the last few things you can set up.
This is your institution's contact information. We pre-fill this out for you, just look it over to make sure it's up to date. This information will be used internally by Merit to identify and maintain your Merit account. You can edit your institution's contact information at any time.
This is the contact information for your designated audiences to reach you. Be sure to include a name, title, phone number, and email address for each contact.
Media Relations Contact: Used on press releases emailed to the media. This can be overwritten in the publishing workflow if necessary.
Government Affairs Contact: If specified, your government affairs contact will be used in place of your media relations contact when Merit sends updates to elected officials.
Student (institution) Relations Contact: Included in the footer of achievement notification emails.
To upload your logo, click "Choose File" in the Logos form and upload your desired logo. The logo you upload will be added to the achievement email notification the student receives, and will also appear in other places on meritpages.com.
Branding Your Merit Page
Your Merit Page is a public facing page that will collect all of the articles you publish. Here you can customize your Merit page to reflect your institution's brand. This includes using your institution's colors, custom images, and introductory text.
To customize the title bar on your Merit page, enter the hex code for your institution's primary color. Hex codes include 6 characters and are alphanumeric. For example: 00402F
To customize the background image on your institution's Merit page, upload a .jpg or .png image file. Note: This image should be between 2200w x 1800h and 1366w x 768h
To customize the logo or profile photo that appears on your institution's Merit page, upload an .jpg or .png image file. Note: This image should be 280w x 280h
Enter a description of your institution into the About Your School (Institution) field. We recommend you enter your standard boilerplate. Note: this description must not exceed 500 words. Once you have entered your institution's standard description, click Update.
The description of your school will be used as the About Us section on your institution's Merit page.
When you click Preview & Publish, you will be shown a sample of your Merit Page with all of the images and text you've selected. To save this page you will need to click the Publish link at the top of the preview.
Merit's whitelabeling feature allows you to ensure that the from-address used by your Merit account matches the domain that the email is coming from. This improves deliverability and helps ensure emails are not incorrectly flagged as SPAM.
Step 1: Get in touch with your IT Department and pick a subdomain to use
Your IT department will need to provide you with an unused subdomain that we can use for this white-label setup. We suggest using something like: merit.YOURDOMAIN.edu as it will be most likely not in use.
Step 2: Enter the subdomain in your Merit settings
Go to the Emails section under the Settings tab (the gear in the corner) inside your account and enter the subdomain that you have chosen.
Step 3: Add CNAME records to your DNS set-up
After entering the subdomain, Merit will then generate three CNAME records that your IT department will need to add to your DNS set-up:
Step 4: Verify setup
When your IT department confirms they've made these changes, go back into your account and click "VERIFY SETUP":
You will be alerted if there are any errors in this process.
Note: Merit will automatically verify this setup every night. If at any time it should become unverified, your from address will return to the default and customer service will contact you.
From address: Your account is pre-set to send emails from "Your Contact Name via Merit <info@meritpages>" to ensure deliverability. If you choose to whitelabel or whitelist, you will be able to change this email to any email of your choosing.
Reply to address: you can also enter a specific reply to address. This is where emails from students and parents who reply to their achievement announcements will be sent to. This can be any email of your choosing.
*Note: Multiple from addresses and reply to addresses can be added be simply separating the addresses with a comma. i.e. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
If more than one email address has been added to this setting, then you will be able to choose the specific from and reply to addresses to use when publishing an achievement.
Ensure achievement notification emails reach your students!Have your school's IT department whitelist the IP address that Merit sends emails to your students from. The IP address you should whitelist is 188.8.131.52.
You can connect your Merit account to your institutional Facebook pages and Twitter accounts using Social Media Connect. This allows you to post student achievements and Newsroom press releases directly to those channels. Social Media Connect can be found under Settings > Connections.
Connecting to Facebook
This process connects Merit to Facebook pages that you manage, allowing you to post content to those pages directly through Merit.
- You must be an administrator of your institution's Facebook page
- The page you want to connect must be a published page
Step 1: Log into Facebook
Step 2: Go to Settings > Connections in your Merit account.
Step 3: Select the "Connect to Facebook" button. Facebook will launch a connection workflow.
Step 4: (Facebook Workflow): Click Continue as (Your Name)
Step 5: (Facebook Workflow): Select the pages you want to use with Merit, and click OK. Step 5: (Facebook Workflow) Ensure "Yes" is toggled on, and click Done.
Step 6: (Facebook Workflow) - Click OK to finish the connection workflow.
After clicking OK, you will be redirected to Merit where you will find a notification that states you have successfully connected Merit to your institution's Facebook pages. If you have any trouble with the connection process, please contact us at email@example.com.
Connecting to Twitter
Step 1: Log into the Twitter account you want to connect
Step 2: Go to Settings > Connections in your Merit account.
Step 3: Select the "Connect to Twitter" button. Twitter will launch a connection workflow.
Step 4: Click the "Authorize App" button.
After connection, you'll be redirected back to Merit settings. If you have any trouble with the connection process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Default Social Media Image
Choose an image that will be used as a default image when stories are posted to social media sites. We'll only default to this image when your press releases, achievements, or student stories are shared in social media without any valid attachments or profile photos.
When you use a custom landing page for your achievement, you can direct the traffic from the audiences you’re reaching (high schools, government representatives, parents, and students) to pages on your own website.
For example, you could publish an achievement about students studying abroad, and instead of redirecting viewers to your school’s page on meritpages.com, you could send them to the overview of your study abroad program on your institutional site! Routing valuable traffic to pages on your site further drives enrollment, retention, influencer engagement, and more.
*Custom landing pages can be set up in your Merit settings on the Landing Pages tab and may require coordination from your website administrator. Read more about setting up landing pages here.
Extra Credit Settings
Social Media URLs
If you would like to link to your social media channels on your Merit Page website, you can by entering the URL's in the designated fields, then click "Update." The live icons will appear on your Merit Page website and in the social media widget on your landing pages.
FERPA Policy URL
Give students quick and easy access to your institution's FERPA policy by inserting the link in your settings. Once you do so, your FERPA policy will be located as a link in the footer of all emails you send to them via Merit. If your institution does not have a URL listed in this setting, the phrase "FERPA Policy" will not be hyperlinked.