Discover more from Aly Walansky's Newsletter
Friday Edition: A few housekeeping notes, story updates, and lots of breaking food news!
Also: Seeking some recommendations!
Happy National Oyster Day! Oysters are one of my favorite indulgences. They also always remind me of one of my favorite publicist-friend meet-cute stories.
My gal Amanda, who previous to the pandemic I did not know, was in the audience at a webinar I was a part of early in the pandemic. A few journalist friends and I were on a panel where we answered some questions about pitching and follow up and just how everyone was doing in those early days of lockdown.
Anyway, during the chat, I mentioned how one of the things I missed most about the outside world was meeting up with my good friends for oyster happy hour. I wasn't seeing friends at all at that time, and I was certainly not eating out. Or even ordering in. The next day, Amanda contacted me and said she had been in the audience at my webinar, and asked if she could send me some oysters. I was INCREDIBLY touched. As I shared on my Instagram when they arrived soon after:
It's an act of friendship I'll never forget, and now that I am going out again, and I do eat oysters again (and often!), I still think of Amanda's incredible act of kindness every time I do. (BTW: Amanda and I finally got to meet about a year later -- Amber Love Bond, Jenn Rice, and I went out to Greenville for Euphoria this past fall and spent the weekend hanging out with Amanda, and now we are FRIENDS FOR LIFE.)
In other news....
So, update to yesterday's rather dramatic email (for anyone still interested, that is!). Good news is, I have my power back. Electricity, internet, lights, the whole shebang. (Yay!!!) Long story short, it was my air conditioner (that has been struggling for weeks), that fried the power and short-circuited everything. It was very much like those bad guys on soap operas that are like, if I'm going down, I'm taking you with me! But in the end, power was restored, but the air conditioner has gone to the big trash heap in the sky.
Because, I do nothing small, and if I'm going to lose my power AND have no air conditioner, why not do it on the hottest day of the season? Make it count, you guys. (Also, if anyone has any budget-friendly small-space-appropriate air conditioner recommendations, I’m all ears!)
Anywho, TGIF, indeed. I have dinner plans tonight with a close friend, to do a media tasting at a new restaurant not too far away from where I live. Tons of bonuses in this - great food, great company, and air conditioning too! Things are looking up (and as they say, this too shall pass.)
Speaking of bad guys on soaps, how is everyone feeling about the big news that DAYS is, after nearly six decades on NBC, moving to Peacock? I totally get how streaming is the future, but I can't help but think of all those older people who have no concept of what streaming even is (let alone $ to add another service to their expenses each month), who are going to lose something that's been a part of their life ...for their whole life.
Then again, the salacious side of me is excited that now the actors can do all sorts of stuff they weren't allowed to do before because now they are no longer on network television. And, Peacock is going to make the ENTIRE library of DAYS available. So if you want to see Austin and Carrie scenes from the bygone Patrick Muldoon era, here’s your chance! OK, fine, my chance. (PS: Spectrum actually gives their subscribers a free year of Peacock Premium if they register through the app.)
I'm going to be in Las Vegas next week for a pretty exciting event, and I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for a spot on or near the strip where I can get a quick, affordable, and high-quality blowout, most likely on Friday afternoon? Drop me a note with any suggestions, please!
Give your workday a theme
For the Friday tip this week, I want to go a little easy (because admittedly, yesterday was a fair bit intense, apologies for that!). I've discovered sometimes it's easier to navigate the work week (or even the work day) by giving each day a theme. I actually learned this from my friends who are more inclined to work out than I am. They may have a leg day, or a butt day. This is like that, but more about mental than physical fitness.
By theme, I mean, maybe one day is invoice day. Another day is pitch day. Maybe another day is followup day, or catch up on emails day. But if you decide that Monday is the day you focus on creating content and and answering email, but Tuesday is the day that you reserve for all your phone calls and meetings, and another may be for research for pending projects not yet in the creation stage...suddenly it's a lot easier to weed out distractions or random unnecessary extra tasks simply because it's not the day's theme.
One of my favorite meat-and-three spots in Nashville has a rotating menu, and I know that when I'm in town, to check the menu and see what that day's theme is. In their case, their theme will be, oh, today is chicken and dumplings day. In your case, the theme may be tie-up loose ends day. (Btw, that's Friday for me. It's sort of a catch-all.)
You'll be shocked how giving each day a theme helps you to be more efficient!
Newly published …
New feature! Since people are often asking on status of stories from a while ago, and I only share stories in this newsletter that were published or updated in the current week, scroll down for a list of my author pages at various publications to which I contribute. That way, you can see what I’m doing at any publication, at any time. This can also help you to target your pitching a bit better. (FYI, by doing this, I’ve just exceeded the limit to the size of an email that GMail will allow, so you may get truncated - just follow the link and you can still see the whole email through your app or browser!)
Food Network: After 5 Years, Pumpkin Spice Oreos Make Their Return
Food Network: Would You Have Your Wedding at An Aldi Store?
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 email@example.com - 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 looking for nutritionists and RDs to weigh in on how to navigate hotel and/or cruise buffets. Like if we're going to be eating lunch or dinner at a buffet while traveling (or just end up there for dinner), what are some good (or less bad, better) choices we can make, and why?
My new piece for HerMoney is: The ultimate guide to getting the best possible price on a flight. I'm working on a guide on how to get the lowest price on a flight (booking less popular routes, new routes, weekdays, less popular airports , etc) - would love if a travel expert specializing in personal finance/budget travel can weigh in on this one!
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!
Often, people reach out and they ask about the status of stories from weeks or months ago. Obviously I can't post them all here every day - I only share stories in my daily newsletter that have been published or updated in the current week. But if you want to check on the status of something a bit older, or just get a feel for the kind of content I write for various outlets before pitching (doing your research helps you and it helps me!), I encourage you to check out my Muck Rack page or visit my author pages at one of the publications below.
There, you can see everything I've written for a particular outlet, including all the most recent updates (and when those updates were!), how often I write for them, and the type of stories I tend to write for them. Below I've hyperlinked a list of publications where I have a fair amount of recent content (if they happen to do author pages, which most do!).
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.
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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 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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