Aly's Newsletter: How to avoid the deadline domino effect (and last-min story opps!)
Also: An ASAP need for RDs to comment on a few timely stories...
I spent most of yesterday waiting on someone who was supposed to stop by and never showed up.
It was an appointment to have something fixed in my apartment, and it has nothing to do with media or PR or our industry at all -- but it inspired me to discuss the importance of meeting deadlines.
We all have them. Writers have them, editors have them, publicists have them, your clients have them. Along that chain, anyone missing a deadline can ultimately have a sort of domino effect to everyone else's deadlines. Much like with dominos -- then cause everything to pile down. (We see that every time we go to a doctor's office, right? Or an airport. As soon as the schedule is a little behind, everything behind it just piles on and becomes more backed up as the day goes on.)
Years ago, I remember I was working with a publicist I was semi-friendly with on getting interview questions answered by her dermatologist client for a time-sensitive story I was doing for a major women's outlet. It was the sort of story where I got the assignment in the afternoon and had to turn around the story by the next AM (which, I know, is not THAT time sensitive being I have hour-turnaround food news stories most mornings, but due to the subject matter and time of day, it was).
Anyway, the publicist committed that her client absolutely positively could participate and answer those questions by the deadline I gave her -- EOD, so I could write that story that night and publish in the morning. By midnight, I had never heard from her. So, I reached out and asked if all was OK.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you. She couldn't do it."
I ended up having to scramble -- AT MIDNIGHT -- to find someone who could turn around questions at that hour, so I could still meet my deadline and publish in the morning. (I actually did, I turned to a west coast contact, where it was 9 pm there - still late, but not ungodly late) - and met my deadline. Crisis averted.
I'm not telling this story to shame that publicist for flaking, because obviously I've moved on and have actually used her clients in a bunch of stories since (though obviously nothing time sensitive!), but to make this a helpful teaching moment and offer this guidance.
1 - Who do you think I contacted the next time I had a super short deadline? Obviously the person who was helping me out at midnight, not the one that left me hanging! Be the person who comes through in a pinch, not the person who does the pinching.
2 - Deadlines have a domino effect. You missing your deadline will cause me to maybe miss mine. If you are going to miss a deadline (life happens!) tell me as soon as I know so I can find another source while there's still time.
3 - Treat people the way you hope yourself to be treated. No one wants to be the friend that is stood up at a bar, or left hanging on an email response. Just keep people posted and communicate, and everyone wins.
In the news
Imposter syndrome has always been something I really struggle with, so I was pretty faklempt yesterday to see myself quoted as a "veteran food writer" in this Marketwatch piece about the salty-sweet food trend!
RetailMeNot: Father’s Day Gifts for Every Type of Dad
If you or your client are featured in any of these stories, I super appreciate any social media shares tagging @alywalansky and the outlet.
Here's what I'm working on:
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.
The TK Best Healthy Snacks to Buy at Target, according to Dietitians -- Looking for RDs and nutritionists to weigh in on this one please. What do you love and why? As a reminder, when we say healthy on this site, we mean as many clean, whole ingredients, as possible and no refined sugar or super-refined grains.
TK Healthy Costco Store Brand Items That Are Surprisingly High Quality
Personally, I'm a fan of their olive oil (and I say that as someone who has visited Italy for the olive harvest and been to many olive oil tastings), but I'd love RDs and nutritionists to weigh in on this as well... what else is there? And why is it great? Focus on organics pls <3
For this story, I'm covering how to extend the life of your nonstick cookware. Would love chefs and cookware experts to weigh in! Not looking for products for this story, this is more of a tips/advice story.
1. The Best Father's Day Sales to Shop Now: I'm looking for the biggies for this one, places like Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Ancestry, 23andMe, Fitbit IF they are throwing a sale. I'm looking for retail sales only for this one (NOT restaurants - I have a different story at a different outlet for that). TO pitch for this one, please include what's on sale, how to shop it, the promo code.
2. Fourth of July Store Hours + Stores Open Fourth of July (similar to the Easter and Memorial Day store hours roundup I did for this same outlet). This is for major retailers, look at my versions for other holidays for an idea of what I'm looking for.
For Today.com, I'm rounding up Father's Day and graduation related deals/freebies at chain restaurants (so if you happen to have those now feel free to send ahead!)
If pitching me restaurant deals/discounts for any of these holidays, please be sure to include what the deal is, how to claim the deal, and any disclaimers, as well as exactly how long it lasts and where it’s good. (I run into A LOT of last minute changes on these deals, so please be sure what you are pitching me is actually the deal being offered before proceeding…it helps us BOTH down the line.)
Virtual consulting sessions...
I've been popping into a lot of PR team virtual meetings and making myself available to answer all sorts of questions about pitching, events, and trips from a media perspective. 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!
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!)
Download the Substack App!
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That's all for today - have a lovely holiday weekend, and try to spend some time with friends and family. There's nothing more important!