I have a professional blog and have also blogged for a marketing agency, writing over 120 guest blogs. Below I have included my experience from the National MS Society, where I interviewed the subjects myself and wrote the stories as part of a blog.
As PR/Marketing Manager at the MS Society, I wrote a number of press releases to promote awareness of fundraising events and programming for people with MS. Two such press releases are below based on subjects I interviewed.
I have a keen attention to detail and am accustomed to following various style guides and language branding guidelines. I also have a great deal of experience with formatting, proofreading, and editing grammar.
I have a Master of Science degree in Communication Studies, during which time I published research studies. I share the following abstract for the book chapter I had published on nonprofit blogging, based on my original research study.
I have worked for three years with the Locomotive Agency writing SEO for a client. See samples of my work below!
Here are two samples of news articles I've written for online publication related to the current CBD trend.
Sara Phillips Aces the Race
“I cried every step of the last mile I ran,” Sara said. Twenty people waited for her at the finish line as she completed her 177th mile of her segment of MS Run the US. As for crossing the finish line, Sara said it was "amazing" and "powerful" where her "emotions were all over the place.” With the only setback injury being blisters on her toes, she was in awe that she finished and completely overjoyed that she accomplished such a huge task that many people had questioned. She is so grateful and thankful for all of her family and friends who followed her on her blog, on Twitter , and on Facebook.
Even though she was overjoyed at finishing, where the first thing she wanted to do was to eat a juicy hamburger, running the race had been no regular task. The greatest obstacle was heat, especially in the last 7 to 10 miles of the race where there was no shade over the road. She said that what kept her going through the heat throughout the duration of the race was thinking about her friends and acquaintances with MS. Sara said, “I honestly thought about was all of the other incredible people that I have been blessed to meet who are fighting the fight of living with MS beside me. They kept me going and fighting and because I knew they were there with me in spirit, I knew I'd get through it.”
In the midst of this heat, she found beauty surrounding her through landscapes of mostly farmlands. Sara said, “I truly gained an undescribable appreciation for the beauty that comes from flat corn/soybean fields.” Of such sights, Sara said, “Day five was probably the most incredible with views because the part of Ohio we were in started to become rolling hills so you could just see so much amazing landscape, barns, and incredible views at the top of each hill.”
As for the impact of the race, it has been a life-changing experience for Sara. She said, “My outlook on life and interacting with all people has strengthened. I've learned to truly appreciate the small moments in life because often times those small moments can make such a huge impact in our day to day lives.” She knows that she will continue to stay very involved with Modern Society and spreading awareness through the young professionals of the Triangle.
Not only did Sara complete the race, she also exceeded her fundraising goal of $15,000, which all goes toward funding MS research. It’s not too late to donate!
Meet Gene Caffrey: Every Step Beats MS
Gene Caffrey is no ordinary Ironman competitor—his first major episode of MS symptoms, which eventually led to his diagnosis of MS, occurred in the middle of the 2.4 mile swim in November 2009. “It felt like someone shot me in my legs,” Gene said, “but I kept going because I thought it was just part of being in the Ironman competition.” So Gene completed the swim by only using his arms! It wasn’t until the next morning when he couldn’t feel his feet that he began to think there may be a problem. Gene eventually saw a doctor and was diagnosed with MS in February 2010. He still experiences numbness and tingling from his sternum down to his feet on a constant basis, in addition to balance issues and the “MS Hug” associated with fatigue.
Gene accepts that he has had to develop a "new normal," but at the same time, he’s not about to stop or let MS define him. He wants to continue being an athlete, where he has continued to run marathons, even in spite of tough times during the beginning of his diagnosis. In addition to marathons, he also wants to continue cycling events, triathlons, and maintaining overall fitness. He believes that movement and diet have really helped his condition, as well as help him mentally.
Every Step Beats MS
A resident of the Triangle, Gene was running on the Tobacco Trail in Durham and reached a point in the trail that exceeded what he thought was his ability to complete his route. To get him through his route so he could make it back to his car, he chanted in his head the phrase, “every step beats MS.” This chant has become his personal motto, as well as the name of his fundraising page,www.everystepbeatsms.com, through the National MS Society website. Not only is this phrase his motto—he also designed the tattoo on his calf that incorporates the Ironman symbol with "MS", along with his motto!
Bike MS fundraising through Finish MS
His fundraising page, www.everystepbeatsms.com, which has raised approximately $4,000, is based on tracking his fitness challenges through Finish MS. He has participated in Bike MS for the past four years at the New Bern ride, and his proceeds from Finish MS are applied to Bike MS. Gene enjoys several things about the New Bern ride. “I enjoy the challenge, as well as meeting others who have MS,” he said, “Meeting the families of those with MS and answering questions for those who are newly diagnosed is so meaningful to me.” Gene said that the friends he has met, as well as people from the National MS Society, have been really important to him too.
Next Finish MS Event
Gene has already been planning for a new Finish MS event, where a group of people with MS would complete a relay race as participants in an upcoming Ironman event. Since the Ironman competition has three different segments (biking, swimming, and running), three persons with MS would each take on one segment. Currently Gene would bike, and another person with MS will swim; however, Gene is currently looking for a person with MS who would run the marathon. If a person with MS would like to run the marathon segment of this Finish MS event, please contact Gene at email@example.com.
CAROLINA BREWING COMPANY INDUCTED INTO CIRCLE OF DISTINCTION, HONORED BY THE NATIONAL MS SOCIETY
(HOLLY SPRINGS, NC)—Carolina Brewing Company, through their Bike MS team called Team CBC, has been inducted into the Society’s Circle of Distinction for raising over one million dollars toward the cause of fighting MS over the past fourteen years. Owner Greg Shuck, whose wife has MS, started participating in the Bike MS campaign in 2000 and keeps coming back every year with a reason: “I was brought up with the belief that if you have the means and opportunity to help others, then you should. Running a brewery gives me that opportunity and I have no intention of wasting it.”
This November, owner Shuck and Team CBC Captain Bob Oderkirk attended the National MS Society Leadership Conference in Texas where Team CBC was inducted into the Circle of Distinction for its partnership and contributions toward achieving the Society’s vision of a world free of MS. Shuck said, “In all honesty, I had no idea what an accomplishment it was. We have been fundraising for 14 years and I never stepped back to appreciate what we have achieved. Being on stage with Bob Oderkirk in front of 1,000 people put it all in perspective. Several people came up to me throughout the weekend and thanked me for helping the movement. To talk and see the people we have been helping over the years was humbling and satisfying.”
Shuck also credits Oderkirk with growing the team through his energy and organization. Shuck said that Bob and Co-captain CJ Rice, along with the core group of riders for Team CBC are “all friendly and encourage folks to come out and ride with us. Many friendships and a few marriages have come from people meeting up at the brewery, cycling, enjoying a beer or two and having a good time. It is a good group of folks, and I feel fortunate to have them associated with the brewery and the MS movement.”
“Research is going to find a cure in my lifetime, and the thought of my kids living in a world free of MS is what drives me,” Shuck said. The National MS Society greatly appreciates the impact that Carolina Brewing Company has made on behalf of ending MS. Dani Clayton, Development Director of Bike MS of the Greater Carolinas Chapter, said, “We will be forever grateful for the support we receive from Carolina Brewing Company. Together we are stronger.” President and CEO of the National MS Society Cyndi Zagieboylo said, “We are extremely grateful for the unswerving commitment shown by our Circle of Distinction members to our universal vision of ending MS forever.”
SHARON ROGGENBUCK: CYCLIST AND FUNDRAISER THROUGH BIKE MS
“What keeps me focused? The next rest stop!” laughed Sharon Roggenbuck, veteran rider of the Bike MS: Historic New Bern ride. This year will mark Roggenbuck’s 28th year riding in the event, and at 77-years-old, she is showing no sign of quitting.
On September 10 and 11, Roggenbuck and more than 2,000 riders will gather at Union Point Park in historic downtown New Bern. The two-day event is one of North Carolina’s largest recreational rides, featuring routes of 30 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles, and 100 miles each day. Bike MS fundraising benefits the mission of the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National MS Society with the funds necessary to support local services for people living with multiple sclerosis and to fund research on a national level that will discover better treatments and a cure for MS.
Roggenbuck and her fellow cyclists have worked tirelessly to raise money for the ride. She has raised between $8,000 and $10,000 each year since 2004 and hopes to be able to do it again this year. “Almost all of the money I have raised comes from individuals, friends, relatives, church family and neighbors,” said Roggenbuck. She has recently taken on the role of being a Ride Marshal as well. As a marshal, she serves as a goodwill ambassador for the National MS Society through socializing with riders and welcoming new participants.
While her past experience with triathlons have given her an advantage in finishing these long rides, not all of her events have been easy for her. A positive mentality throughout a long ride is much easier said than done. “One time I was riding in the cold, pouring rain, and all I wanted to do was quit,” said Roggenbuck. “I was feeling sorry for myself, but I remembered about the riders and family members of those living with MS. It’s so inspiring to be able to know I can fight for those who can’t, so I’m not going to let riding in the rain get in the way of that.”
Join Sharon Roggenbuck at Bike MS: Historic New Bern this September. The National MS Society, Greater Carolinas Chapter also hosts Bike MS: Tour to Tanglewood in Clemmons, NC on September 17 and 18 and Bike MS: Breakaway to the Beach at the Sea Trail Resort in Sunset Beach, NC on October 8 and 9. Register today at www.bikemscarolinas.org.
I have experience as the Brand Champion at the National MS Society Greater Carolinas Chapter, where I was responsible for making sure that any collateral created by North Carolina and South Carolina adhered to the Society language style guide, and was written clearly with correct formatting, punctuation and grammar.
(Formerly known as Sarah Merritt)
Merritt, S., Stafford, L., Mackey, D., & Waters, R. (2012). “If You Blog It, They Will Come: Examining the Role of Dialogue and Connectivity in the Blogosphere,” in S. Duhe (Ed.), New Media and Public Relations (2nd edition, pp. 157-168). New York: Peter Lang.
One of the principal characteristics of social media is connectivity, the state of connecting multiple entries together. The blogosphere is an excellent example of connectivity as organizations and individuals create original posts, link to others' posts on their own websites and social media accounts, share posts via email and text messaging, and ultimately communicate with one another through dialogue. This chapter examines the interrelatedness of Web connectivity and the role of dialogue in the blogosphere. Specifically, the research measured how well the blogs from the Philanthropy 400 nonprofit organizations incorporated the five dialogic principles and then examined whether those organizations with higher proportions of dialogic principles received more global Web traffic and whether they were connected to other websites and social media outlets more than the nonprofit blogs that used the dialogic principles with less frequency.
Use this mobile application as an inspection checklist for retail stores. The app is designed as a template and can be easily customized to meet the user's specific retail store requirements. This app covers performance management, guest experience, operations, people and relationship management.
Content depth: 1
This Retail Store Checklist Mobile App facilitates use of an inspection checklist for retail stores. This app is designed as a template and can be easily customized to meet the user's specific retail store requirements. This app covers performance management, customer/guest experience, operations, inventory or retail audit of merchandise, and relationship management. As a retail store manager at a mall department store or any other retail business, increase sales, improve business practices, and enhance the customer service experience through using this plan checklist. Whether you are an online vendor or operate a clothing store at a mall, use this app as an effective management tool for managing people and resources.
Content depth: 20
Rug Inspection Sheet Mobile App
Need a form to record rug inspections? This great form covers the size and details of the rug as well as a number of potential issues to be recorded. Customise this form to suit your business needs.
Content depth: 1
My revised version:
This Rug Inspection Sheet Mobile App provides a form to help record rug inspections. This convenient form covers the size and details of the rug as well as a number of potential issues to be recorded. You can customize this form to suit your business needs. As a rug cleaning service, use this app during an initial inspection of the carpet cleaning process for area rug cleaning, making note of any dust, stains, mold growth or other water damage. Use this app to inspect and discover any pre-existing conditions prior to the carpet installation process.
Content depth: 26
Kristen Bell Uses CBD Oil to Help Her Anxiety and Depression
Growing evidence suggests that CBD oil can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. As anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults age 18 or older in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), alternative treatment options like CBD oil use are given increasing attention and call for further research, based on individual stories of success.
“The Good Place” star, Kristen Bell, calls to attention the positive results of CBD use, based on her own personal battle with anxiety and depression. For Bell, CBD oil has a significant impact on her psychological health, which also benefits her lifestyle and her relationships.
It’s not always easy for a high-profile celeb to discuss mental illness and admit what can be considered a shortcoming in the public eye. Kristen Bell says that “shame” is what keeps people from talking about mental health challenges. Accordingly, she said in the November cover story of Women’s Health that she “immediately felt irresponsible.” She said, “...I do care about depression not being taboo, yet I present this bubbly, outgoing girl who seemingly gets through life with a smile on her face, and I’d never discussed that some days, I don’t.”
She discussed the role of her anxiety and depression battle in her marriage to actor Dax Shepard and the difference CBD oil has made, along with other strategies and lifestyle habits she has adopted. In addition to a ‘toolbox’ of relationship strategies that she put together with Shepard in counseling at the beginning of their relationship, Bell uses a combination of exercise, supplements, and medicine along with CBD oil to feel “centered, patient, [and] capable.”
Bell uses a daily SSRI antidepressant and adaptogens, which are herbal supplements that target stress reduction. She also exercises frequently and socializes with her friends, even if it is on a video chat app. Such a case example shows that CBD oil can yield positive results for anxiety and depression when used as a supplement along with adopting a healthier lifestyle and including other therapeutic measures.
According to the ADAA, CBD oil maybe useful for treatment of anxiety and depression, but not as much advanced research has been conducted to prove CBD oil’s effects on anxiety and depression as with epilepsy, for example. Only a combination of pre-clinical and limited clinical evidence has been established so far for how CBD effectively alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Bell’s story of success with CBD oil use demonstrates the relevance and need for advanced research on the efficacy of CBD oil as relates to the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Carson Palmer Predicts NFL Will Eventually Partner with CBD Company
CBD is nothing new to the NFL or to other sports, according to former NFL Quarterback Carson Palmer on The Dan Patrick Show. In fact, Palmer answers Patrick’s question on whether the NFL would partner with a CBD company by saying, “I absolutely think so. I think it’s already in locker rooms in all sports. It’s something guys have been using for awhile…”
So why did Palmer start using it? For fifteen years after playing professional football, he had sleepless nights full of soreness and aches. He said, “I was looking for something other than an opioid, Vicodin, or prescription painkillers. I was looking for an alternative and started looking at CBD and started using it.”
CBD has truly made a difference for Palmer. He has an arthritic hip that needs replacement, where he is putting it off through using CBD. He said, “[CBD] really helped me continue to do all the things I love outside and still playing sports with my kids, and not be in the same soreness situation that I’ve been in for so many years.” Palmer knows he has to eventually get it replaced, but he said, “I’m just trying to delay it as long as possible.”
When asked about legal and non-legal use of marijuana in the NFL, where it is actually legalized in many states, Palmer responds, “it’s easy to get confused with the THC and the CBD, and this is not a THC product.” He emphasized that the brand he uses (Level Select) is not a drug, that the brand he uses is strictly CBD with no THC.
Palmer encourages others facing physical pain to use it as well. He said that CBD is “something that is great for my parents and for people in their sixties, seventies, and eighties to guys in their thirties and forties who still want to play pick-up basketball and golf and do all the things that I do. It’s something that helps you continue to live in the sports world and live without soreness...and pain.”
Palmer emphasized that you must be careful with which CBD you choose though. “Now that it’s mainstream, and now that you can buy it online, and there’s so many options and so many different companies out there,” he said. He chose a CBD company he trusted, where he “knew what they said they were putting in the product is only what they are putting in the product.” He said there’s a lot of “rift raft out there” so trusting the brand you purchase that you also know will work is important.
Even though CBD is formally prohibited in the NFL, the federal shift on legalizing CBD is cause for the NFL to consider the CBD part of cannibis. The NFL continues to bar football players from medicating with CBD, even though the World Anti-Doping Agency has already allowed for its use by late 2017, where several other U.S. professional sports leagues have already allow CBD use.
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