Aly's Newsletter: Lets Get Back To Work
Hope you had the most relaxing and sun-filled of weekends.
While I know most of us weren't really feeling all that game to throw the nation a birthday party this weekend (and don’t get me started on how horrendous fireworks are — especially for those of us with pets or suffering from PTSD or anxiety issues), it was a good opportunity to disconnect for a bit.
I had a lovely dinner Friday night with one of my oldest and closest friends, on the backdrop of a gorgeous Brooklyn rooftop, and then spent the rest of the weekend with my family catching up on work, puppy time, some spring (er, summer? cleaning), and of course, couch time.
(BTW, I finished The Bear and I very much recommend it!)
But now that everyone is back to work, there's a lot of work to be done this week. I have somewhere around 10 pending assignments (save me!), and most need expert commentary. So please scroll down for those!
But first, here's my tip of the day: Having a designated workspace.
Now, someone may say this is a feng shui or Marie Kondo or whatever thing, but honestly, I'm not that fancy. But I will tell you that for years, I worked in bed. That's a terrible thing to do. Beds should be specifically for bed things. If you are taking phone calls and doing work and answering emails and having your coffee in bed..it's no longer going to be somewhere you see as a spot for pleasure and relaxation. Which is all a bed should be.
But having a designated work space will put you in the mind frame that that is where business is conducted. When you are in that spot, you work. That spot should be organized, and only contain those things you need for work, and nothing else.
Think you don't have space for it? I live in a 400-square-foot studio apartment. I can reach my kitchen from my bed if I stretch hard enough. If I can find the room to create a designated space for work, you can too. Your designed work space can be a desk or even the left side of your couch. But just be sure that that space is where you work, and it's the only thing you do when you are sitting in that spot. This lets your brain know you are serious about getting down to business and your work will flow better because of it.
Do it to maintain some normalcy (when you leave that space, it’s like closing the door to your office and commuting home), and create a strict divide between work life and home life. It’s important, and your work/life balance will thank you for it.
Newly published or freshly updated stories
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 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.
1. The best ways to eat healthier when flying: There are so many traps to that kind of thing — in airports and on the plane — plus it's always so price gouge-y. We can't bring our own drinks to airports, but we *can* bring food (with some limits). I'd love input from RDs to figure out maybe a combination of strategies about what you can bring with you if you have time, and if you don't, what you can buy in the airport / which airline snacks are the least egregious nutritionally.
2 - Things Nutritionists Actually Order from Panera: Would love RDs to weigh in on various items CURRENTLY on Panera menu (don't tell me about discontinued menu items) that nutritionists order and why they are good choices. Feel free to mix and match if, say, you like to have a soup and salad together or something. But be specific, lots of details, please!
3 - Zero-Prep Products That Make A *Perfect* Healthy Lunch: We have to pick our battles sometimes, right? I'm working on a mix-and-match story stuff you get at the grocery store that you don't have to chop or cook or do anything but open and eat, like this Trader Joe's story I did but stuff you can get at Publix/Kroger/Wegmans or whatever the regional chain you favor. Would love RD input on this!
4 - Best Trader Joe's Items for Easy, Healthy Summer Entertaining - this is very similar to the TJ's story linked above but I'm focusing on summer entertaining - those cheese and charcuterie plates, fun olive or pepper blends, interesting dips, etc. If you are an RD who wants to weigh in (and FINE to weigh in on multiple stories), please reach out!
National Mac and Cheese Day is coming up. I'm looking for bars/restaurants nationwide that have some rather unique/creative spin on mac and cheese on their menu. If you have something (must currently exist on the menu and be available to order), please send me:
Name of dish
Where it is (name of restaurant, city, state, URL)
Quote from chef about dish
High-res image of dish
1. Amazon prime perks you didn't know existed (or maybe aren't using). Like the shipping benefits most people know about, but downloads, movies/books, special deals, the photo drive, and so much more. Would love experts to weigh in for this one.
2. Ways to get free things while at the airport - things are SO EXPENSIVE when flying, but there ARE free things to find. like, the free water bottle refill section, and some airports offer free tours of the local city (great on a long layover), some have book swap areas or libraries, or yoga rooms. Would love to talk to a few travel experts!
3. Unexpected ways to spend less money on your hotel stay. Stuff like booking directly with a hotel and not a 3rd party site, using cards that will earn you. miles or cash back, using apps that offer last-minute deals, etc. Would love travel experts to weigh in on this one as well.
I’m putting out preliminary feelers for a potential story on National Ice Cream Day deals at chains. If you have any deals brewing, please tell me what the deal is, when it’s good for (is it just for National Ice Cream Day or all of Ice Cream Month?), and how to claim the deal.
National French Fry Day is ALSO coming up and I’m putting feelers out for the same as above for that 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.
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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!
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 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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