Aly's Monday Newsletter: The right (and wrong) way to send journalists images, newly published stories, and a fun air fryer cleaning hack!
Happy National Spritz Day!
I slept so well last night for the first time in weeks. As I mentioned in previous newsletters, my old and tired air conditioner was on the fritz at the same time that NYC was having an intense heat wave — and then the bird incident happened, thereby compromising the integrity of my window!
A beautiful soul though who is a reader of this newsletter and represents a bladeless tower fan sent it my way though this weekend and I’m finally sleeping again without hugging frozen water bottles. (BTW, a good hack if you need it. I had also taken to keeping my makeup removal cleansing clothes in the fridge for a quick cool-down pre-bed.) It’s absolutely something to consider if you too are trying to cool down a small space during an extra heated time.
I had a lot of work to get done this weekend, so I spent a lot of it with my computer on the couch. However, I did clock some impressive TV binging while I was at it. (Multi-tasking for the win!) Finished Virgin River (which I think was WAY better this season than last season), then watched all of Uncoupled, on Netflix, and I LOVED it. Highly recommend it. And, then, last night, I watched Not Okay on Hulu.
Not Okay is, essentially, the story of a wannabe Instagram influencer who fakes a trip to Paris to impress...another Instagram influencer, and all hell breaks loose.
While this movie is a satirical dark comedy, it also offers a lot of relatable social commentary -- especially for those of us in journalism who have had to exist and interact alongside attention-cravers who are not all that different from this unlikable main character, for years. It's a REALLY good watch.
Tell me what you are watching. I’m always looking for my next great binge and love recommendations!
Last night, I made an air fryer roast chicken. This is one of my favorite Sunday night meals, because not only is it comforting and delicious when you need some delicious comfort, but also this is a meal you can stretch for DAYS, making it incredibly budget friendly and ideal for anyone into meal planning or batch cooking (and who isn’t, these days?).
I also shared a hack for how to clean your air fryer basket fast and easy - this will blow your mind. Both are available on my Instagram stories right now!
Today’s cooking will be a repurposing of last night’s chicken in some form. So will everything the next few days. That’s the beauty of it all. Batch cooking does not have to mean you are eating the same dinner for days (BORING. I get it!), but rather you have created a foundation you can continue to build upon. Last night’s chicken will be this week’s chicken for salads, sandwiches, wraps, and fun stuff ranging from stir frys to enchiladas. And, ultimately, its bones will become chicken stock to enjoy and freeze later in the week!
Scheduling Emails, and The Right (and Wrong Way) To Send Photos
This weekend's Industry Insights newsletter was about the benefits (time saving and otherwise) we get from taking advantage of the email scheduling option when sending emails. You can still check it out here.
For today's tip, I want to quickly share some guidelines for when sending media photos. This is something I touched on in the past in my weekly paid subscriber editions, but since it's such an incredibly important topic, I'm going to do an overview in the public version of the newsletter as well. Here's some quick tips:
First of all, when I am working on a story, and request a certain amount of parameters, please make sure you have all those elements before pitching. For example, with the spritz story that was published today: There were some people who pitched me cocktails and then did not send an image. When I followed up, an image was not available. Those cocktails were, obviously, removed from consideration.
Label your photos. I get a lot of photos that have file names like image03. You can imagine how that can create complications if sent in a gallery of photos (which, also, avoid, please) or even among a grouping of 2 or 3 other images of other cocktails being pitched. The best way to avoid the wrong photo being used and creating a big drama after the fact is to just label your photos so that there's no question. i.e. if you are sending me a hibiscus margarita, do not name it image401 but maybe something along the lines of NameofRestaurant_HibiscusMargarita.
2. Photo credits. If you need me to include a photo credit, please do tell me what it is. I realize it'll often just be the name of the bar or restaurant or hotel. But please tell me.
3. Make it a usable photo. A blurry out of focus photo, or a photo of said cocktail being pitched in a group with a bunch of other cocktails (people won’t know which one is the one we’re talking about!), or one that is way too small, or a photo of some other thing altogether (say, the cute restroom at the bar), will not be usable.
4. When possible, send images via a dropbox or drive, rather than embedding or attaching. Makes life easier for us all! And double check on those links that expire in a few days. If it's days later, and a weekend, when I'm working on that story and downloading that image, you don't want me to have to email you on Saturday afternoon looking for the image. See also: Please make sure it's not a gallery or image link that will require permissions to open or a broken link (because then I'll also be doing the same!)
Hopefully with these quick and easy tips, we can all help each other in a meaningful way.
Newly published …
Forbes: 25 Perfect Cocktails To Enjoy On National Spritz Day - I had a lot of fun working on this one and it includes bars, restaurants, and hotels around the world. From my favorite spot in Rome to a more local spritz by one of my very favorite chefs.
The Kitchn: The New Cinnamon Toast Crunch Snack Has an Exciting Twist
YourTango: 6 Brave Couples Reveal The Most Honest Thing They've Told Each Other
Clean Plates: The Best Trader Joe’s Items for Easy, Healthy Summer Entertaining According to Dietitians
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.
Wicked Creative agency is seeking a San Diego or Los Angeles-based Public Relations Coordinator to work in entertainment, nightlife and hospitality. Excellent writing skills, the ability to stay calm under pressure, attention to detail, and a strong understanding of AP Style are key. In addition to working during office hours from 9-5, Monday-Friday, there are often additional staffing requirements in the early morning, evening, and on weekends as needed for television, celebrity appearances, live entertainment performances, and events, as well as for photo and video shoots. For details please click here or to apply by email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
For HerMoney, I'm writing a story rounding up ways that you can travel for free this year - yes, free. Like work exchanges, volunteering, house sitting, pet sitting, house swapping, etc. If you are a travel expert who can offer some commentary, I'd love it if you reach out!
What's the deal with sprouted potatoes? - I'm doing a story on sprouted potatoes for Southern Living, and I'd love to know more about them. Are they safe to eat? Why do they sprout? What's the ideal way to remove the sprouts? What's the best way to store them? How do you know when it's time to just toss the potatoes altogether? Obviously, I know the answers to a lot of these questions, but I'd love a chef or food safety expert to weigh in.
I'm looking for nutritionists and RDs to share their go-to takeout order and why it's the best way to go in terms of nutritional value, well-balanced meals, being satisfied but not over-stuffed, and so forth. Obviously not specific restaurants, of course. but more like "if getting Chinese takeout, get this..." "if getting Indian takeout, get this..." and so forth. It’s fine to say “I order this but sub out this aspect for this aspect, or get it without the sauce or whatever.” Please reach out if you have someone who can comment!
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 Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
If you have any, please tell me what the deal is, when it’s available and where, and how to claim it.
Share the love
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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 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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I am late to the game - but "My Beautiful Friend" on HBOMax is SO GOOD! I never read the book, but watching it is great!