Since Megan first started conducting media relations in 2004, nearly all of the news releases (see a few samples here) she has written have been picked up by local, regional and state newspapers, eliciting hundreds of articles throughout the years. She has also fed editorial boards information that led to the publication of editorials, which can influence public policy. Megan also submits articles to magazines, sets up social networking pages, and directs short promotional videos for her clients.
What are the keys to this success rate? Here are just a few:
1) Understanding the reporter. Megan draws on her training at the Elkin Tribune, The Cary News, Greensboro's News & Record, and North American Congress on Latin America's Report on the Americas. She also has a B.A. in English, Writing & Editing from North Carolina State University, where she was the Arts & Entertainment Editor of the college newspaper. Megan knows what it's like to sift through a pile of press releases. To catch a reporter's attention, a release must stand out by identifying what's newsworthy about the business or organization, putting it in context with the headlines of the day and making it relevant to the readers. If that news is buried under a bunch of superlatives or grandiose quotes about the excellence of the organization, then the reporter will likely bypass the story. Megan also has a high standard for accuracy. While other public relations representatives stretch the truth, her clients' stories are compelling on their own—she just finds the right language to articulate their strengths authentically. Megan goes out of her way to make reporters' lives easy, delivering text written in proper AP style, which they often cut and paste into articles. They don't have to edit out a lot of verbose PR language. When media staff have the luxury of time to write original pieces, she works with them to create accurate articles from their own angle.
2) Understanding the reader. Readers are drawn to stories involving local points of interest, familiar faces and uplifting anecdotes. They want to see signs of encouraging change in their communities. This "good news" is a welcome break to the prevalent fear-inducing reports delivered mostly for shock value without accurately represent readers' everyday experiences. Megan is particularly familiar with the viewpoints, passions and concerns of those in the western North Carolina mountains, as her work has taken her to the nooks and crannies of the region since 2000.
3) Understanding the background of the client. Specializations such as sustainable agriculture and land conservation can be complicated, and jargon is prevalent. Megan's job is to pull out the critical pieces, translating the organizations' work so that the public not only digests it, but also digs it. She draws from her internal encyclopedia of sustainable agriculture, which she's been developing since entering the field in 2001. She also has interest and a lot of knowledge in holistic healthcare, alternative education and the arts, especially dance and other forms of movement.