From a love of literature to driving success
Imagine this: You’re in the second grade. You enter a book report competition through the local newspaper, assuming one of the older students will achieve victory… and you win! Among your spoils is a free book, a book report printed in the newspaper along with a headshot—you’re rocking a Tweety Bird T-shirt, like the trendsetter you are—and a general sense of fame and accomplishment. It’s all so… exotic for an 8-year-old. And that’s when you decide: I want to be a writer! Your destiny has been set.
That’s pretty much the beginning of Zen Media’s Editorial Director, Megan Noorman’s career. Sure, she veered a little toward the editing side of things, due in part, to her love for diagramming sentences (a love she realized in graduate school), but here she is, more than a decade in the business of editing—managing a content team and helping craft content strategies for our varied book of clients.
The Midwesterner has set down roots (and then dug them back up) across the Midwest to the West Coast and down into the Southwest (think: Michigan, Illinois, California, and now Texas), and while we have Dangerous Dan Adventure Man (her second-grade prize) to thank for her dipping her toes into the infamous world of writing and editing, her love of literature has been continuously ingrained. First, it was her mother’s out-loud-reading of Little Women. Then it was books about rodents—Motorcycle Mouse, The Three Terrible Trins, Redwall—then a transition into fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and pretty much everything in between. Graphic novels, true crime, and Harry Potter are also in the mix, and it’s this quite eclectic mix of reading—and literature overall—that’s made her choice to work at Zen a pretty obvious one. Well, at least for us.
“I think reading is a big part of being a good writer,” Noorman says. “We learn to differentiate between things we enjoy reading and things that we don’t, and that, ultimately, is the foundation of being a good editor. Being able to diagnose why something feels off to me or isn’t engaging, and coming up with solutions to improve the piece is the foundation of what I do every day. I think reading a variety of styles helps you think critically and creatively about how to frame a story and how to move from headline to conclusion.”
She’s not wrong. The self-proclaimed introvert reads, writes, and edits pieces about everything from B2B content marketing and tech to thought leadership, finance, insurance, and computer programming. She researches every topic to make sure she’s educated enough to make informed decisions, and she’s thoughtful about every sentence and punctuation mark. As a manager, she’s constantly coming up with new processes and ideas—like heads-down writing days for her content team, upskilling training sessions, and brainstorming sessions—to make sure her team is consistently writing fantastic copy for clients and getting the type of information they need to be successful.
But one thing that makes Noorman’s job so unique is that she doesn’t work for a publishing house. She doesn’t work at a magazine or newspaper. She’s found her home with Zen Media in B2B PR and Marketing. At Zen, we have created this niche within a niche, so to speak, using dedicated writers to touch all content—from press releases and blogs to dedicated articles and social media posts—and the cohesiveness in content is something that stands out.
“Having a dedicated content team is something that isn’t common in this industry, especially in PR,” she notes. “I think this is a huge differentiator for Zen because it saves our clients time and effort, and it ensures that whenever we do publish something under their names, it’s well written and uses strategic positioning and messaging.”
It’s this synergistic approach to producing copy that is the foundation of Zen and the proprietary PESO (paid, earned, shared, and owned media) model. It’s the other key differentiator that helps achieve results on a whole different level through integrated services that work together (PR, marketing, SEO, content, social media, etc.) to drive short-term and long-term results—creating a much larger impact than the standard digital campaign. And it’s that big impact that creates the “Zen moment” for clients.
As for Noorman, she constantly feels moments of “zen”, both in and out of work. In her home life, she enjoys the Austin, Texas sun at the pool with her kids and husband. They ride bikes, go hiking, and hit up the park when the weather is nice, and spend afternoons painting or making “trash art”—her 7-year-old son’s favorite—when it’s too hot or rainy to be outside. Thanks to Zen, she’s able to achieve a work/life balance that helps foster creativity.
When it comes to her work life, she’s constantly making things happen. While a day in the life of an editorial director is never the same, typically she oversees our team of writers, handles managerial-level tasks like managing workloads, documenting and detailing each client’s unique brand voice, reviewing and editing pieces we’ve written, and analyzing feedback from clients to adjust angle and strategy. But what she most looks forward to? Success.
“I enjoy succeeding,” Noorman notes, “and I look forward to the feeling of accomplishment and success that my team and I get when a client is happy.”