Aly's Friday Newsletter: Hello From Las Vegas (Also: Some tips on working while moving between time zones.)
Hello from Las Vegas!
As per the usual, you can always count on Aly to bring the rain wherever she goes...it’s been a time-honored inside joke among all my friends.
(Hey, England...I hear you are having some pretty severe drought conditions right now. Let me know if you want me to help you out!)
I'm really excited to share the official reason I'm here, and you'll see soon if you follow my Instagram starting this evening.
I have a pretty busy and fun weekend planned, but as today is a work day, I was up at 5 am Vegas time (8 am NY time), to get in a morning of work on east coast time before starting my day's itinerary. It's seriously the only way I can navigate trips, and a great way to be able to engage with your surroundings in a focused, present way and not have work on your mind the whole time. I mean, it may be on your mind....but it won't be TAKING OVER your mind.
Working remotely through time zone changes is essential for any travel writer -- or anyone who travels as part of their job. But I think the last few years as many more people began to embrace a remote or hybrid work situation, the logistical part of working in one time zone while physically being in another has become increasingly common even for those who it was not common for before.
I think this is important to figure in when agreeing to work-related travel. Will the time zone difference be one that works FOR you or AGAINST you as far as being able to get your work done (even if it ends up being in an asynchronous style). The West coast has always been great for me because of the morning hours head start. But so has Europe for the same reason. I've been on so many incredible European trips where I fulfill a whole day's itinerary and then get to come back to my room and have it still be acceptable hours to work or respond to emails.
Of course, I've also visited areas of the world where this has not been possible. It's something important to consider and something that always is a deciding factor when I consider press trips! (Not only time zones, and how they correspond to east coast time zones, but also scheduling on the trip itself and if I'll be able to balance my responsibilities at work-home with my responsibilities of work-road.)
It's a juggle, of course. But it's also an opportunity. And I'm so grateful that I get to do it!
Get a special group rate
I’m now offering a 50% discount on paid subscriptions when purchased as part of a group subscription (that’s four or more people). It’s a great way to get your team involved and save some cash.
Newly published …
Since people are often asking about the status of stories from a while ago, and I only share stories in this newsletter that were published or updated in the current week, I have created a list of my author pages at various publications to which I contribute. Bookmark it and make your life a bit easier.
This list will live on my Substack URL and be updated as necessary. That way, you can see what I’m doing at any publication, at any time, from types of stories to general structure of stories to even volume and frequency of my content at that outlet.
This can also help you to target pitching a bit better. That makes your job easier, and mine too!
Clean Plates: Nutritionists Explain How to Navigate Buffets for a Healthy Meal (That’s Still Fun)
Clean Plates: Healthy, Zero-Prep Products That Make Lunch a Snap — and They’re Available at Most Grocery Stores
Food Network: I Tried The Rock’s Cheat Day French Toast And It’s Just As Good As He Says
Forbes: It's Now Acceptable To Enjoy A Blueberry Martini For Breakfast
Food Network: What Does Coca-Cola Dreamland Taste Like?
Food Network: Dunkin’ Releases Fall Menu Early and It’s Full of Pumpkin Spice Goodness
Clean Plates: Ordering in Tonight? Dietitians Share Their Go-to Takeout Order
The Kitchn: Martha Stewart’s Tasty Spin on Potato Salad Will Become Your Favorite Way to Make It
Clean Plates: 10 Plant-Based Dips That Can Take the Place of Hummus During the Chickpea Shortage
Southern Living: Peach Salsa
Southern Living: Peach Margarita Recipe
If you or your client are featured in any of these stories, I super appreciate any social media shares! Please remember to tag @alywalansky and the outlet.
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 email@example.com - 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.
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’m rounding up freebies, deals, and discounts at food chains in honor of the following upcoming food holidays:
National Burger Day
National Cheese Pizza Day
National Coffee Day
Some of these food holidays are not until September so I have a bit of time, but earlier, the better, always. (I tend to get SO many food-holiday deal related pitches when it’s already THAT DAY and the story is already published. Then it’s too late! Get these deals to me early for the best chance of getting them included.)
Please send me the deal, when it’s good, what the deal is, how to claim it, and any other details. (Is it only good during specific hours, is it only good at specific locations? This is all helpful to know!)
Share the love
Every morning, I share what I’m working on that day and links to newly published stories and send it right into your inbox — for free! I also share productivity tips, job leads, links to volunteer and mentoring opportunities, recipes, and more — all always free.
Please share this newsletter with a friend or colleague today. Every Friday, I randomly choose one new free subscriber who signed on that week. They will be automatically upgraded to a paid subscription for free — and, if they tell me who referred them to this Substack, that person will as well! These opportunities only get better if we share them with our friends.
Paid subscriptions get additional benefits, such as my weekly industry insights newsletters, subscriber Zoom chats, and much more.
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 (This summer, I even 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 spoke to our team to help us all gain a better understanding of the media side of our business. Whether it was the best ways to pitch media or understanding the editorial process of content, she gave us tremendous insight into a vital relationship for mutual success. We were thrilled and our team came away with not only a deeper understanding, but with greater empathy for our colleagues in the media market. Definitely would recommend Aly for any agency looking to better work with their media counterparts.” Dawn Britt, Founder/Managing Partner/CEO of OneSeven Agency
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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have a great day <3