Quick Start Guide

    Here you will learn more about each step of publishing an achievement.

    1. Summarize your achievement
    2. Add students
    3. Write your story
    4. Add photos and video
    5. Select distribution channels
    6. Write a press release
    7. Preview your achievement

    Start by clicking the " New Achievement" button on your dashboard or on Achievements tab. This will take you directly into the publishing workflow.


    Write a title and summary, and select a landing page
    The achievement title and summary will be used for the online version of your achievement, and serves as a general overview of the content. We recommend that your summary be no more than 1-2 paragraphs. Its purpose to is generically describe the achievement that the students are being recognized for. You'll add the full version of the story later on in Step 3. 
    Learn more about summarizing your achievement


    Add students to your story
    There are multiple ways to add students to a story. Choose either the  Upload Spreadsheet or Add Students Manually option. To learn more about the two ways to add students to a story, go here.

    Your students will show up as a list inside the workflow:

    Mapping Student Data: When adding students by uploading a spreadsheet, you'll see a section titled "Map Student Data." Merit will automatically match the column headers in your spreadsheet with its designated headers, but it's important to check these mappings and make sure they are correct. You'll see previews of the data on the right in italics. Fields such as first name, last name, hometown/city, zip code, major, class year and CEEB code will be automatically assigned, but you can use the dropdown boxes to make changes to these fields.     

    Learn more about the options for adding students to an achievement.


    Write your online story

    The story that you write here will appear on each student's Merit page. You will have 2 options when writing these stories:

    Personalized  Generic
    This option is best for stories about larger groups of students (dean's lists, graduations, honor society inductions, etc.)    This option is best for stories about one person or small groups of students (performing arts, awards, athletic achievements, etc.)
    Creates student stories that are customized for each person  Creates one story that will be the same on EVERY student's page. 
    Uses placeholders for personalized data that comes from your list of students. Uses ONLY the text from your Write your story section. Any students mentioned by name in this story will appear in each student's story.

    If you choose to write a personalized story, you will have a mix of text and placeholders in the box below: 

    Learn more about writing both personalized and generic achievements.


    Add your photos and video
    You may add photos or videos to your story. The photos and videos chosen here will appear on each student's story.

    Learn more about adding photos and videos to achievements.


    Select your distribution channels

    After writing your online story you will want to determine which additional audiences (if any) you'd like to reach:

    Learn more about selecting additional audiences for your achievement.


    Write your local press releases (optional)

    Checking the " Send to Hometown Newspapers" box will open up the Write Your Press Release workflow. Here you have the ability to customize your press releases. 

    Note: The form for composing your press release will adjust to the choices you made in step 3 above. 

      If you chose to personalize your online stories in step 3, you'll see 2 tabs for your press release: An Individual Press Release and a Group Press Release (If applicable). 

      If you chose a non-personalized/generic online story in step 3, you'll see one tab labeled "Press Release"

    Next, review and customize your press releases, beginning with your Individual Press Release. This is the version of your story that a newspaper will receive if one person from your list falls within their coverage area:

    If multiple students from your list fall within ANY one newspaper's coverage area, you will also need to draft a "Group Press Release". This tab will remain hidden if no group stories will be created.   

    Learn more about writing Personalized and Generic Press Releases.


    Preview and Publish

    Here you will be able to preview your story in its various forms. You will want to click the "Looks Good" button on each step, and then finally the "Publish Now" button to submit the story to Merit's editors for review.

    Learn more about previewing and publishing your achievements.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us