About last night, some new stories I'm working on, and a tip to make calendar management WAY easier
Congrats for making it to...hump day!
Last night, I had such a great time. In fact, it was the first time in a long time that I attended two events in one night. It felt deliciously retro.
First, I met with the DESIGNME Hair team, who were visiting NYC from Canada and took over Blondify Studio (the BARBIE-CORE salon of your dreams) to demonstrate their product line (over blowouts, of course).
Much like a man, nothing brightens my day like a blow.
(Sorry, couldn't resist!)
Then, from there I headed to a reception hosted by the French Cheese Board in honor of their new NFT exhibition. I'll be honest -- I don't understand much about the NFT world. But I quite well understand the realm of French cheese and wine, and so I was all about that!
Today will be a very busy day ahead of me. I have a virtual consulting meeting this afternoon, followed by a Zoom event - that timing-wise is complicated, because I'll have to attend it en route to an IRL event I'm attending. (i.e. I will be attending said zoom from an Uber ... technology is grand. I say it every day.)
To that end, I wanted to talk a bit about the event I'm going to tonight - it's a really fun one involving hands-on baking at a really cute NYC location, but I have so much respect for the planning that has gone into it.
The organizers sent COVID tests to all attendees' homes yesterday, which we were to take this morning and email the results of in advance of attending the event. They also gave everyone Uber vouchers for increased safety and comfort - including my plus one, who is coming from New Jersey!
I'll talk more about the specifics of that event tomorrow, but it'll be a really fun one. But for now, I wanted to take a moment to share what doing things right looks like in this day and age - and share the incredible peace of mind that comes as a result.
Nothing right now...but I wanted to give a MAJOR shout out to Rastelli's, who overnighted me an incredible shipment of meat and seafood yesterday. I did a video run-through on my Instagram stories of all the goodness they sent, and you'll be seeing SO MUCH of it in recipes to come over the next few weeks. My freezer is packed -- and so happy!
Today's Productivity Tip: How To Better Manage Your Calendar
Today's tip is inspired by the delightful Laura Baddish, who is something of a legend in our industry, and was my host for last night's fabulous wine and cheese reception. Because, as we all know, I'm totally a nerd, Laura and my conversation quickly circled around to how we like to maintain our calendars in order to stay organized.
I won't give away any of Laura's trade secrets, but I'll share mine! Obviously, calendars and productivity are as linked as vodka and olives, but a calendar is only as useful as the person maintaining it. As in, if you are not managing and organizing that calendar regularly -- well, it's not going to do you much good.
Some of the ways I organize my calendar is to map out my week on Sunday night (during that Sunday night prep session I wrote about a few emails ago). This helps me to prioritize the important stuff, and lower the priority of the less timely or crucial things.
I also have my daily agenda sent to me, and I HUGELY recommend this. If you have Google Calendar, you can do it too. Just go to your Google Calendar and choose settings. On the left under Settings for my calendars, click your name and go to Other notifications. In the Daily agenda field, click the Down arrow next to None and select Email.
If you use Outlook, you can do this too. Just go to web app and into “Your app settings” and choose “Calendar.” Then go to Reminders, select the checkmark next to “Get daily agenda email for calendar and tasks.”
By the way, the reverse is possible as well. You can add something to your calendar from your email. Using Gmail, in a browser, open the message, select the three-dot icon, and then create event. In the app, go to Settings > Events From Gmail, and move the slider to the On position.
It'll make your life so much easier and let you start each day by setting an intention and sticking to it.
Clean Plates: 10 Panera Meals Nutritionists Actually Order
Food Network: Doritos Launches New Tangy Tamarind Flavor
Food Network: It’s About Dang Time – KFC Launches Chicken Nuggets
If you or your client are featured in any of these stories, I super appreciate any social media shares!
What I’m working on now:
Be sure to read the below list carefully. Many are stories I posted about yesterday, but some of yesterday's stories are no longer listed and a few new ones have been added since yesterday. This (below) is everything that is still a currently open opportunity as of today.
Please remember when pitching me: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - do NOT just hit reply on this newsletter, or there’s a good shot your email will be lost in the heap. Give your email a subject line that makes it clear which story you are pitching me for — it’ll help you in the long run.
You probably have heard that much like sriracha, chickpeas are facing a shortage. For Clean Plates, I’m rounding up Plant-Based Dips That Can Take the Place of Hummus During the Chickpea Shortage - vegan dips with a hummus-like appeal and great plant protein that can fill the gap when hummus is going to be in short supply. For this, I’m looking to link to recipes that exist online, either by food writers, bloggers, etc. Please do NOT link me to brand pages or product pages — this is NOT that kind of story. For an example of what this piece will ultimately look like, check out my guide to healthy air fryer snacks.
National Tequila Day is NEXT WEEK and I’m rounding up fun, interesting, unique tequila-based cocktails at bars and restaurants nationwide. (And yes, hotel bars and restaurants totally count!). The cocktail MUST exist on the menu currently though, either as a permanent item or a special. To pitch for this, please include ALL of the following and email me by this Friday:
Name of drink
Where on the menu (name of restaurant, city, state, URL)
Description of drink (not a recipe, please)
Quote about drink (please don’t forget to GIVE ME THE NAME of the person quoted…)
LINK to high-res image of drink
Please only pitch me when and if you have all components I need. Thanks!
2.I’m also working on a roundup of great oyster-centric dishes in honor of National Oyster Day. I need the exact same parameters as far as formatting as above for that one. But oysters instead of tequila (but, hey, if you have a dish that involves tequila and oysters, you have two changes this week!). Please send me all responses for this one and the tequila one by THIS FRIDAY.
3.It’s going to be back to school time before you know it. I'm working on a roundup of tips and product suggestions for stocking your kid's dorm fridge/freezer as they had back to school (or to the dorm for the first time). These fridges/freezers tend to be smaller and not hold as much, so you want to make sure you use their real estate best -- keeping in mind the common appliances you'll find in a dorm kitchen (and those you probably wouldn't). I'm looking for value, so good stuff that you can get at a good price vs. fancy stuff a kid wouldn't need (so, no wagyu or caviar or lobster for this one, think stuff that they could really get a lot of use out of...say...chicken parts or chopped meat you can order online), but also, commentary/ideas for what they will need, and what they will actually use. So, think, foods that will fill them up and keep them healthy and happy and will be easy to pull together to make meals they'll actually enjoy (tall order, I know!)
4.Also for Forbes, I’m rounding up the celebrity chef restaurants that opened in the last year or so or are opening later in 2022 that are especially exciting. If you have any that might be a fit, please email me. I’ll need info about the restaurant, and some images I can use, and would LOVE if I could get a quote or two from the chef/owner. This is not a full-length feature on any restaurant but more of a roundup/list. (Though if any sound especially great I can consider for a more focused story down the line!)
I have a few weeks to play with these two, but that's because I need to compile a whole lot of info for these...
The Best Labor Day Sales to Shop Now - This is similar to the sales roundups I did for July 4th, Father's Day, and so forth. I'm rounding up the best Labor Day sales this year, focusing on major retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s etc. When pitching me, please include the details of the sale, if it’s in-store or online, and any cash back offers from RetailMeNot.
Your Guide to Labor Day Store Hours - I'm going to be doing a revamp of this article, about the store hours of major retailers during Labor Day weekend. I want to include the retailers that were in last year’s update (so please email me if you are any of those stores) but will be expanding and adding more in this update. Yes, this is very similar to the hours updates I've done for Memorial Day, July 4th, etc, so you know the drill by now as far as format goes!
I am looking for deals/discounts/freebies at chains for:
National Chicken Wing Day
National Avocado Day
If you have any, please tell me what the deal is, when it’s available and where, and how to claim it.
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Virtual consulting sessions...
Looking for a consult as you plan your next event or trip? Or just want someone to take a look at the pitches you’ve been sending and give some feedback?
I've been popping into a lot of PR team virtual meetings and some other fun stuff (I even recently joined in on an agency’s team retreat right here in Brooklyn — it was so fun and I made so many new friends!) and making myself available to answer all sorts of questions about pitching, events, and trips from a media perspective. I like to keep these things chill and comfortable and relaxed all by sharing perspective and learning from one another.
If you are interested in setting anything up for your own team in the coming months, please email me and we'll get something on the books! This is available for entire agencies or smaller group lunch and learn type concepts. If you are a freelance publicist and want to join in with a few other freelance publicist friends and set something up, we can do that as well!
Potential new availability: A few people have reached out to me and asked if I was also open to doing consulting for freelance journalists in addition to the PR consulting sessions I currently do, and I am absolutely considering it. I need to spend some time thinking on what a session like that may look like and be structured, but after 20+ years in the industry, I’ve seen a whole lot change and it may be interesting to share my own experiences with someone just starting out. So, stay tuned!
On the fence over whether this is a good fit for your team? Here’s some feedback I received from people who I have worked with recently:
"Aly’s advice and insight is invaluable to our team, not only is she incredibly knowledgeable, she is approachable, generous, and kind too. While we read every one of her newsletters, we decided to go one step further and invited Aly to host a Q&A with our agency. During the session, we felt comfortable asking her everything and anything. She went above and beyond, providing examples and reasoning for each answer, and the team walked away with an abundance of new insight, tips, and tricks, plus a new confidence in handling some of the most crucial parts of our jobs." Sacha Bell, Rachel Harrison Communications
"Looking for a brilliant writer that always goes above and beyond? Look no further than Aly! She is an incredible teacher, tells it exactly how it is and is so generous in sharing her knowledge. She knows what she wants from publicists, is very clear on her needs and expectations, and how to best support one another. Most of all, her kind personality jumps off the page, and her giggle and smile are infectious. In this consistently changing world of media, it’s so refreshing to know someone so genuine.” Kirsten Wanket
“Aly has very kindly agreed to join a few sessions for us talking to both smaller and larger internal groups, and it has been incredibly helpful for our team to understand more about her process, and garner best practices that we leverage as we work on various programs. From sharing dos and don’ts for virtual and in-person events to pitching tips, Aly is a pro and always so thoughtful in her responses. And her own first-hand knowledge has helped us all to better understand the work process for freelancers and how we can most effectively work with other freelancers like Aly. We always appreciate her time and insights!” Erin Delahanty, Edelman
“I would highly recommend booking a virtual consulting session with Aly for an agency of any size! She offers up to date perspective on everything from the affiliates to how to get your pitches read to timing your pitching correctly. These virtual consulting sessions literally save you time trying to figure out what the media is looking for and give your team an immediate edge. Aly took her time and answered questions from the team. She is super friendly and you can tell she genuinely wants to create a win-win relationship between the media and publicists. Our team loved having Aly on and we cannot wait to have her back! It was a blast!” Leah Cybulski, ChicExecs
“Aly was able to join our agency for a PR Perspectives chat and not only was it so much fun, but it was so informative! Keeping a pulse on the constantly changing media landscape is so important and we loved the insights and expertise Aly was able to share with us. Highly recommend setting up a chat with her!” Jennifer Haile, Dentsu Creative PR
“I am always looking for ways to share new ideas and learning opportunities with our team to improve how we pitch and offer value to journalists and in turn their audience. Aly's no nonsense approach gave us accessible advice about the best way to communicate to media, what formats works best, and basically how we can share our client news in a way that will get us noticed and included in stories. Would do again in a heartbeat!” Samantha Davidson, Say My Name Communications
“For my team’s first hybrid media event for a product launch in the COVID era, Aly quickly jumped on a Zoom and dropped great insights that drove many of the event elements. The direction she provided helped us increase attendance and gave her journalist colleagues a more memorable experience. It was a bonus that she was so easy and fun to talk to.” Apryl Ash, Approach Marketing
Now, it’s your turn! Email me at email@example.com to get something on my schedule for this summer.
Are you confused about affiliate marketing?
If you are having trouble learning how to navigate issues of affiliate marketing (trust me, we've all been there!), you may want to try out my friend Sarah Karger, a publicist, and former editor Dana Baardsen (and all-around fab girl!)'s Ultimate Masterclass and Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Publicists. It's a brilliant course and it'll answer all your questions (including some you didn't know you had!)
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