Aly's Tuesday Newsletter: All the best Barbiecore cocktails, newly published stories, and today's tip
Thanks so much for all the sweet birthday messages for Lily. I read her every single one!
Rumor has it that this crazy humidity is finally going to break today. This is exciting news as I’ve taken with sleeping with frozen water bottles.
Side Note: This is absolutely not what Whitney meant when she said she wanted to feel the heat with somebody.
Today will be a busy day, as I have both a lunch and learn and an afternoon consulting sessions on my schedule, so if you don’t mind, lets get right to it!
Recently, I agreed to be interviewed for a crowdsource on a subject I felt pretty strongly about. I answered some pretty personal questions with extensive, in-depth answers. When the final article came out, my contribution was boiled down to two sentences, which felt like they were taken rather out of context.
It was a reminder about the huge responsibility of journalists to respect their sources, and their content. However, it's also a reminder to all of us to take greater care with our sources, citations, and quoted material, whether it is a publicist in a pitch or press release, or a journalist in a story they are writing. So, here's some quick tips to keep in mind:
1 - Introduce the source. Say why they are a credible source to be using in this particular instance. Are they a credentialed expert of some sort? What is their background? Or if they are a witness to a specific event, or someone who has been a witness to some sort of experience being discussed, mention that. Taking a sentence or two to introduce the source and say why they are there is very much the same, as, say, introducing a speaker at an event. Let everyone know why they are there and what they bring to the table.
2 - How to cite: This depends on who the person is. If this is a famous or well-known person, say, the Duchess of Sussex, you do not need to explain who she is. Just a name will do. However, in most cases, the name, any titles, and where they work is a good idea. Also include their website URL. It's the writer's responsibility (be it in an article or someone writing a pitch or press release, so we're using writing in a broader term here) to give enough information about the source that if the person reading wants to look them up and examine their credentials, it's easily possible.
3 - What to cite? - Everything. Quotes that are verbatim. Quotes that are paraphrased. Interviews. If you are referring to something common knowledge (i.e. Christmas is December 25), you do not need to cite that. If it's something that you got from someone else's research or knowledge, then cite it. That includes movies, TV, and books as well, of course.
4 - Explain what you are quoting and why. Don't make people do your homework for you. Explain the connection between the context of the article and what this quote offers to support it. Make sure to relate the quote back to the topic and share how it is relevant to what you are discussing.
If you yourself are being quoted, or offering an expert to be quoted, it's your job to share their relevance to the topic (or your own). That's why so many of us journalists get itchy when we go on a site like HARO, are looking for credentialed RDs to discuss, say, quinoa, and someone who works in IT support for a tech firm answers with their recipe for a quinoa based salad. It's not what we're looking for. It's not what we asked for.
As a journalist, I'm far more often quoting people than being quoted. But when I do give quotes for things, it's because it's something I feel I have relevant things to say about, and on a topic I feel I can contribute something to, in a way that may move the story forward or help people. Consider that every time you suggest your expert for a quote, or consider an expert for a quote. Will they add to the story in a way that moves it forward? Or will the only thing they move forward be the word count? Always consider that.
Newly published stories…
Taste of Home: How to Get the Bacon Smell Out of Your House
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.
I’m working on a roundup of great oyster-centric dishes in honor of National Oyster Day. To pitch me for this one please remember to include all the following parameters:
1 - Name of dish
2 - Where sold (restaurant, city, state, URL)
3 - Description of dish
4 - Quote about dish (please remember to give me the name AND title of the person being quoted - you’d never believe how many people forget to do this!)
5. High-quality image of dish (AND any necessary photo credits). Please be sure to name the image something like the dish’s name or restaurant’s name (I get A LOT of photo galleries of a million unnamed photos…you can imagine the carnage that can ensue if I choose the wrong image!)
2.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!)
3.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 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 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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