Aly's Monday Newsletter: Links to newly published stories, a discussion about the world around us, and today's productivity tip
Plus: Everything I'm working on today!
It's been a really stressful stretch in America.
I remember in 2016 when, against all concepts of logic and reason and decency, those election returns came in. I was on a press trip at the time -- in rural Alabama.
Just imagine, if you will, about a half dozen mostly-NYC-based liberal and progressive spirits journalists sitting in an Alabama hotel bar together watching those results. (It’s like something out of a sketch comedy, if the results weren’t so deadly serious.)
If we weren't shell-shocked and terrified enough seeing what ended up happening -- being surrounded by people who very much weren't on the same page as us as far as our reactions made it even scarier. In a way, that moment was a terrifying preview of how life as we knew it was about to change.
(Side note: Recently, years later, I was on another press trip with someone who was also on that press trip. When I ran into him at the airport as we awaited our ground transfer, I approached him and asked if he remembered me. After all, that trip was years ago and we didn’t keep in touch. He responded, of course he did, how could he not, after that experience?)
That fear and anger and shock of that night, and the next morning -- I feel like last week's Supreme Court decisions felt a lot like that. And, of course, we all know that that night is what ultimately led to this travesty. Again, we're all shocked, and angry, and fearful...as women, but also, as the state of democracy and decency and humanity perpetually is crumbling around us...it's just hard to keep moving forward.
But move forward, somehow, we must. I've been trying to use my social media -- my twitter and my Instagram stories to continue to share information and resources as I come across them. Let’s just all be here for each other, and take care of ourselves and our friends and our families. And if anyone ever needs a friend to talk to, for any reason, know you can email me.
Today's productivity tip
God, after that, everything feels a lot less vital to share! But let’s do a little palate cleanser and make today's productivity tip a fun and easy one.
I was working from home for years before the pandemic made it commonplace for many others. I noticed a lot of my friends transitioning into a work from home lifestyle had problems seeing their home as a place of work, and staying focused. The reason I get so much done in a day is that I keep the same rigid schedule at home that would be expected of me at an office. I have a starting ritual every morning -- wake up at the same time, make coffee in the same mug, and even play the same playlist of music as I get started. (And yes, totally thrilled to share my daily workday playlist any time anyone wants!) I then have a specific time I must be at my desk (er, couch, if we're being real), each day, a specific time I take my lunch break, and a specific point I'm allowed to stop for the day -- though I often go past that. During this stretch of the work day, people know I'll always be at my desk -- which is why I've become a go-to source for so much fast-turnaround type content. I also severely limit digital distractions during the work day. That's an after-work reward for a hard day's work or something I do during my lunch break. Spend all day scrolling on twitter or insta, you'll get nothing done!
It's very easy for those who work from home to treat work as optional - taking a break to go out to lunch or get a massage or go grocery shopping in the middle of the day. But work is not an option. It's your job. You get more done when you are strict with yourself about your schedule and the people you work with can count on you to be available during those hours (which is why I never go to daytime press events). Be someone who is consistent and reliable and it'll only spell good things for your workflow -- and your productivity!
Newly published or freshly updated stories
The Kitchn: Salt & Straw Is Releasing a Line of Culinary Perfume That You Can Spray on Both You and Your Ice Cream
TODAY.com: Where to score the best 4th of July food freebies and discounts
RetailMeNot: 13 Stores That Let You Bring in Old Clothes for Recycling
RetailMeNot: Stores Open Fourth of July + Fourth of July Store Hours
TripSavvy: The 9 Best Sedona Hotels of 2022
If you or your client are featured in any of these stories, I super appreciate any social media shares tagging @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.
I have a new assignment for HerMoney that I’m trying to turn around this week - it’s on a topic that is getting a lot of traction right now - different travel situations and why they may qualify for a reimbursement. For example: delayed or cancelled flights. Everyone is dealing with this more than ever of late. I’m looking at that and other travel scenarios and seeing when and how you can get credits and travel reimbursements. This will also fall into other travel situations you can get reimbursements on, such as flight issues, luggage issues, cancelled events, issues with vacation rentals, natural disasters, etc. I would love to chat with personal finance experts and travel experts on different travel situations and why they may qualify for a reimbursement - including the ones no one thinks about!
Here’s everything else I’m working on for HerMoney this week:
How to save money and get a better deal when booking/planning a cruise - I'd love travel experts and personal finance experts to weigh in on this one.
Are meal kits a good value? I love them so much, and I think they can be amazing for people who live alone and aren't super comfortable being creative in the kitchen or tend to overbuy ingredients and end up with a lot of waste (I'm looking at you...produce!). These kits were so popular during the pandemic, but are they still? How to know if you are getting a good deal...(also, are some better than others? What to look out for. I absolutely know I've personally had a range of experiences.) Would love experts to weigh in on this one.
10 surprisingly affordable last-minute vacation deals/destinations for your summer vacation. For each one, I want to mention a hotel in each that is a good find and/or a few restaurants that are known to be great but aren't pricey, too.
I'm writing a roundup of student discounts. I am updating this article, so if your client is listed among the existing deals, I’d love it if you can confirm for me whether it has changed or not. But I’m very open to new deals too!
I’m also working on a story on best reusable cups freebies and discounts - establishments that give some kind of BYO cup discount. These types of discounts fell by the wayside for COVID, but have since started coming back.
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.
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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!) 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!
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 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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Powerful edition of your newsletter, Aly. Thanks for sharing. Speaking of sharing, I'd be interested to check out your work playlist.