Aly's Thursday Newsletter: The Benefits Of Insomnia, Today's Time-Saving Productivity Tip, And Story Leads!
Insomnia sometimes has its rewards.
While I get that human beings need to sleep, every so often the inability to get enough sleep can help you get things done. I am going to a media dinner tonight that I’m super excited about (it’s being held at a location many may consider to be essentially a sort of palace of culinary history) and being up super early gave me time to switch out my purse and plan what I’m going to wear, as well as wash and blow my hair before the work day started.
While this may sound like a NBD kind of thing to most, trust me when I say that washing and blowing out my hair is a process and something I normally reserve for nights and weekends. Not a busy morning!
Of course, the weather today is looking sketch, and my hair implodes in humidity so fast that I go from human girl to poodle in 3 seconds flat, so we’ll see how worthwhile that time investment was.
Speaking of time investment…
Today's productivity tip is a WAY simpler (and shorter) one than yesterday's - but perhaps one that many people will appreciate even more. I know I did when I figured it out!
For those of us who travel frequently, you may have noticed that one thing that all airports in all cities have in common is the Starbucks line is always impossibly long. We're talking maybe an hour long sometimes. I waited LONGER than that at the JetBlue terminal at JFK before I figured out a better way. This is a time suck, and prohibitive if you don't have that time to spare before your flight -- or have other things you rather be doing. Which is, of course, everything. I love my oat milk quad shot latte (and yes that’s my go-to order, come at me!) as much as the next gal, but I hate waiting in line for an hour.
There's a better way! Next time your in the airport, any airport, pre-order your drink/breakfast/whatever on the app. You can even do it while in you are exiting that TSA security area. The drink will be made while you are walking to gather it. Then you get to skip ahead of the line and just pick up your order. You're done in 5 minutes instead of 50 minutes.
Caveat: Many larger airports have multiple Starbucks, even within a specific terminal, so make sure you are ordering from the right one, and that that one accepts mobile orders. (Don't worry, the vast majority do!) Then, you are golden.
For the record, this isn’t just a Starbucks thing. It’ll work at ANY restaurant/cafe that has an app with a mobile ordering option that is available at locations that include that airport location. So you can skip that long Shake Shack line as well…
How is this a productivity tip? Well, you've just saved an hour. Go use it to make a phone call or send some emails.
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
RetailMeNot: 13 Stores That Let You Bring in Old Clothes for Recycling
RetailMeNot: Stores Open Fourth of July + Fourth of July Store Hours
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.
There's a Sriracha shortage coming. If you are a fan of keeping things hot, what are some other great products to try? (Personally, I always have Sambal, Gochujang, and Chili Oil in my arsenal) Would love pitches and links to where they are sold. Also, if someone wants to try to make their own Sriracha at home (or a close substitute, tastewise), how could they do that? Would love a chef to weigh in on this one with an easy step by step. Thanks!
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.
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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!
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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I love the format of your newsletter - it’s daily sunshine.
Yessss to the Starbucks tip! Thanks!!