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Aly's Tuesday Newsletter: Thank You For Helping Me Hit the 5,000 Subscriber Milestone!
Also: New stories brewing and a tip about how to shorten your work day.
First of all, THANK YOU. I hit that 5,000 total subscribers milestone a few hours after yesterday's email.
Attention: Hailey Thayn, you were my 5,000th-subscriber, and I will be reaching out to you via email this morning to upgrade you to a comped paid subscription, and also see where you heard about this newsletter -- because they are getting one too! Thank you!
It's a scorcher in some parts of the country (including here in NYC), and so I'm trying to avoid using the oven as much as possible. Turning on an oven can make a small apartment like mine pretty unbearable rather quickly!
Thank goodness for my air fryer. Last night I made a super-quick (read: under 10 minutes) seared scallops with ginger-sesame string beans - all in the air fryer and all in under 10 minutes. You can see the recipe video on my Instagram stories now. I'll add it to the highlights section later today too because I know I don't have much in the way of scallops up there quite yet...
As I mentioned yesterday, today will be a bit hectic of a day because I have two events I'm headed to later today. (It's honestly been years since I've done a day with events double headers, when it hasn't been press trip related.) Even more fun, they straddle two distinct areas of concentration - one is a beauty event, the other is a wine and cheese event. So, it's sure to be a really fun night.
So before I get to today's workload (it's a beast!) so that I can get ready and get out of here a bit earlier than usual, here's my tip of the day...
My tip today is sort of related to what I was just talking about earlier in this email. It's a few simple ways to shorten your workday. The key to this is being organized, and working SMARTER, rather than HARDER.
I'm well aware it's possible to stare at the computer for 8 hours and get nothing done, while it's also possible to have a half day of good focus and get tons done. The secret to this is eliminating distractions -- take the advice I gave in previous newsletters and close out social media time sucks (looking at you Twitter and Instagram), during the work day. If you are browsing your newsfeed every 5 minutes, and then answering text messages, and then going back to browsing that newsfeed, you're getting a lot less done than if you just...focus on your work, finish your work, and then do that other stuff.
I also believe in starting the day earlier if you know you need to finish the day earlier. Today, I need to leave home by 3:30 pm, so I was on my email by 7 am. I didn't shorten my day, I just adjusted my hours.
Early mornings are a great time to get things done anyway because that's when the energy is high, the coffee is fresh, and the heat index outside our windows hasn't reached distracting levels yet. It's a good time to be productive. It's quite possible you can leave your desk two hours early if you just arrive at your desk one hour early at the beginning of the day, entirely because that early AM hour will be far more uninterrupted and productive.
Eliminate distractions, stay focused, and be deliberate in the work you are doing and you just may sometimes be able to cut out of work a wee bit early to have a meeting over blowouts and then attend a wine and cheese reception...
All in the name of journalism, of course.
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!
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.
National Tequila Day is NEXT WEEK and I’m rounding up fun, interesting, unique tequila-based cocktails at bars and restaurants nationwide. (And yes, hotel bars and restaurants totally count!). The cocktail MUST exist on the menu currently though, either as a permanent item or a special. To pitch for this, please include ALL of the following and email me by this Friday:
1 - Name of drink
2 - Where on the menu (name of restaurant, city, state, URL)
3 - Description of drink (not a recipe, please)
4 - quote about drink (please don’t forget to GIVE ME THE NAME of the person quoted…)
5 - LINK to high-res image of drink
Please only pitch me when and if you have all components I need. Thanks!
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!)
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 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.
Please share this newsletter with a friend or colleague today. Every Friday, I randomly choose one new free subscriber who signed on that week. They will be automatically upgraded to a paid subscription for free — and, if they tell me who referred them to this Substack, that person will as well! These opportunities only get better if we share them with our friends.
Paid subscriptions get additional benefits, such as my weekly industry insights newsletters, subscriber Zoom chats, and much more.
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 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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