Aly's Newsletter: How To Make The Most Of Your Friday
Also: National Tequila Day is this weekend -- read my story for cocktail ideas.
Congratulations on making it to Friday!
This was a wild week, and at times the end didn't seem to be nearly in sight.
Fridays are always a bit strange, especially during the summer. Many people take long weekends and it's common for companies to have shortened hours on a Friday. This can make it rather frustrating when you are running against deadlines and every time you try to email a source or a contact, you get an out of office response.
Now, there's a few ways we can handle this. You can, of course, decide to take a "When in Rome..." philosophy (and God, how I wish I was in Rome right now!), and give yourself a Summer Friday as well. No shame in that game!
Or, you can follow some of my tips for making the most out of a Friday workday:
1 - Make Fridays about those less demanding things on your to-do list
You prioritize those really important things for Monday morning, right? This is the stuff that's left. It's almost as if it's a gift to yourself to end the week with the things you need to get done just to check them off your list, but are easy and require minimal effort. Friday is not the ideal day to start a new project (unless of course you wake up to a quickie requirement from your boss/editor/client/whatever). But it's a great time to tie up all those loose ends.
2 - Confirm and schedule your meetings and appointments for next week
Next week, I have a few consulting sessions, a few events, and dinner plans. Friday is a good time to touch base and see if all is confirmed, so that we can firm up our calendar in advance of the work week.
3 - Catch up on your reading.
I don't necessarily mean the gossip mags. This is a good time to read up on industry news, blogs, and newsletters. I subscribe to many Substacks and assorted other newsletters of people in my field who I respect. Friday afternoon is a good time to catch up on what they are working on and have to say. But it's also a good time to read those blogs and newspapers and magazines that reflect what is going on in our industry and content area.
4 - Review the week.
Friday is a great time to do a sort of week in review. It's when I might send a thank you note for a really fun dinner or event I attended, or bust out invoices for projects completed that week. I might also follow up on open-ended scheduling issues, and send out links to published stories. Look at it as tidying up before you leave the "office "for the weekend (though chances are we're not truly leaving anyway!).
This weekend will be fun because we’re celebrating my shih tsu Lily’s 16th birthday! Obviously said celebration will be Sweet 16 themed…stay tuned for photos in Monday’s newsletter!
Newly published stories…
National Tequila Day is this weekend and there’s so many ways to celebrate. Check out my Forbes piece below, with a gallery of fun cocktail ideas. But if you prefer eating your tequila, I have a story on that too!
Clean Plates: 10 Panera Meals Nutritionists Actually Order
The Kitchn: Velveeta’s new Veltini — a most curious take on the dirty martini!
Her Money: The Best Cruise Deals For The Rest of 2022
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! 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 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.
I’m rounding up perfect cocktails for celebrating the BARBIECORE trend. So, send me your super pink, brightly Barbie-esque cocktails. Here’s how to pitch me:
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, and please remember to include their title.)
LINK to high-res image of drink
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’m working on a story on Gifting Accessories: Your Gift, Their Preferences. This is NOT a gift guide and I do NOT need to be pitched any product for it, but rather I’m working on a story with advice on the challenges of gifting accessories, such as lack of personalization, customization, personal preferences, sizing, etc. I might have a need for some expert commentary for this, so drop me an email if you are interested!
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.
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 — 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 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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