Friday Edition: Playing the long game, and the value of making lasting impressions
Good morning friends and happy Friday!
I'm still in Greenville and having the best time. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat with Tyler Florence in advance of his big homecoming dinner and then attended the dinner and ate some of the best fried chicken of my life. I also got to do some fun local activities yesterday afternoon, including my first-ever mead tasting (the most ancient of alcoholic beverages!). You can see more on my Instagram, of course.
I have a busy schedule today (hence why I’m trying to get this newsletter out a bit earlier), but tonight I'm going to an intimate dinner collaboration between Emma Bengtsson (the first Swedish woman to hold two Michelin stars) and Daniel Boulud (who may just be the biggest name in food), so it's sure to be a treat.
One of my favorite things about the Euphoria festival each year is how intimate and exclusive they make it feel all while having such meaningful content. And isn't that what we all want in everything we do?
Any travel writer can tell you stories of press trips over the years that had had so many people in attendance, you never got to know anyone's name. It's keeping things more intimate and personal that really do create those special connections and memories and friendships that last (and experiences that make their mark).
Playing the long game
Last night at dinner, a conversation cropped up between myself and my friends about how important it is in PR/media relationships to play the long game, so to speak.
As in: The longer we work together, and the better we get to know each other, the more we can achieve together.
Media plays the long game as well. Yes, I might have gone on a trip a month ago that I have already written about in three different stories. (It’s hard not to when it comes to Martha. Stories about her seem to write themselves!) I've given that trip pretty immediate coverage. But that doesn't mean that I won't continue to find opportunities to include if they are a fit over a space of months or years if the assignment relates to the experience. To that end, there's places I visited years ago that when a story opportunity pops up today, I would reach out and ask for images and more information and current status. For example, I recently wrote a story and included a dish in it I had eaten at a dinner at a destination in 2019. Thankfully it was still on the menu! (Of course, I checked!)
That's how important it is to always make a lasting impression and maintain lasting relationships, even after the story has been finished or the event is over or the trip has been completed.
As journalists, we're always trying to find the right stories. The ones you get from knowing a product or a destination or a brand really well. From knowing the history, the origin story, the people involved, their story. That comes from us asking the right questions. But it also comes from spending time together and getting to really know each other. That's how those stories come to be told. It's the difference between stories that just happen and those that are made. Last night, I saw that synergy happen. I was at dinner with a journalist friend and an editor friend. The journalist was telling us the incredible story of a local woman in her town and a transition her life had taken and a new business she had created as a result of that life transition. The editor friend was immediately like -- I'll take that story!
It's those unique, personal stories that are the best stories. And that only comes from taking the time to really get to know and experience a place, a brand, a winery, a destination, or even a wine bar, and knowing the people behind it and the stories that they have to tell. And that is a reason why these trips, and these experiences, and bringing people together so they can truly connect with another is so important.
A reminder that THIS SUNDAY is National Cheeseburger Day. I wrote a TODAY.com story with all the best deals and freebies — don’t miss out!
Brustman Carrino Public Relations (BCPR) is hiring an account executive in South Florida. Candidates must have 1 – 3 years of hospitality/culinary or agency experience. BCPR is a lifestyle/hospitality/culinary agency with clients in Florida, New Orleans and Nashville. This is a hybrid (office/remote position) but employees must be able to attend events, media dines, photoshoots, etc. Benefit Driven = 100% health insurance, 401K with 3% match, life insurance and disability insurance. Salary is based on experience level. All interested candidates please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Upcoming AZA Zoom
My friend Zlata has shared with me she a virtual Zoom session coming up for her paid subscribers that will cover various aspects of affiliate marketing and PR. I know her advice was a big hit on our AMA last week, so wanted to make sure anyone who wanted more can take part. Get more intel here.
Get a special group rate
I’m now offering a 50% discount on paid subscriptions when purchased as part of a group subscription (that’s four or more people). It’s a great way to get your team involved and save some cash.
Newly published …
Since people are often asking about the status of stories from a while ago, and I only share stories in this newsletter that were published or updated in the current week, I have created a list of my author pages at various publications to which I contribute. Bookmark it and make your life a bit easier.
This list will live on my Substack URL and be updated as necessary. That way, you can see what I’m doing at any publication, at any time, from types of stories to general structure of stories to even volume and frequency of my content at that outlet.
This can also help you to target pitching a bit better. That makes your job easier, and mine too!
RetailMeNot: 7 Ways To Save More on DoorDash
RetailMeNot: 10 Ways to Save More on Uber Eats
Taste of Home: Should You Tip For Takeout?
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.
Please consult my industry insights guides on submitting expert commentary, sending emails that will catch a journalist’s attention, how to craft pitches journalists will say ‘yes’ to, and the right and wrong way to submit photos, if you need any extra guidance before sending your pitches.
National Taco Day is a few weeks away and I’m looking for fun, unique, inventive tacos. If your restaurant has something really cool and interesting and delicious, please send me the following: Name of dish, where sold, description, quote from chef about the dish, and a high res image. By Monday please!
I’m rounding up freebies, deals, and discounts at food chains in honor of the following upcoming food holidays:
National Coffee Day (9/29)
National Taco Day (10/4)
Please send me the deal, when it’s good, what the deal is, how to claim it, and any other details. (Is it only good during specific hours, is it only good at specific locations? This is all helpful to know!)
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 (This summer, I even 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 fall.
Looking to up your affiliate marketing game?
Affiliate marketing is complicated, and it seems that the landscape keeps changing. If you are looking to be prepared for gift guide season and all other shopping-related content, you may want to try the 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!)
That’s it for today! Have a great day and I’ll see you same place, same time, tomorrow!