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Friday: Here's why I have confidence that creative, original writing will survive the onslaught of AI
Recently, I was chatting with a PR team and the topic of AI came up. It happens a lot in my personal conversations with writer and publicist friends as well. Everyone is worried about being replaced by robots -- from pitching to articles and so much more.
But, honestly, as much as I appreciate and respect everyone’s very legitimate feelings, I'm actually a bit less worried. I think that while AI can generate articles that regurgitate facts and stats and data, it completely misses the human element — and that is key in good writing.
The term artificial intelligence is essentially just using a computer to replicate the so-called "real" thing - like real human intelligence. (Think of it how we use artificially sweetened sodas and desserts as an alternative for those with real sugar -- is anyone legit concerned that sugar will be ultimately cease to exist?)
By definition, AI is all about computers going into old content -- some variant of source material -- and using that content to create something new. (Sound a bit like plagiarism? You aren’t wrong.)
This is completely devoid of what we strive for in good writing -- original thought, original voice, the human element, the interjection of real-life human experiences and emotions and feelings.
So the best way to compete with AI? Be original. Write original, unique content. Use fresh sources and fresh information, do our own research, discover those new trends no one has written about before. Be a creative, original thinker, which any legitimate writer should be ANYWAY. If you are a publicist, don't write generic repetitive formulaic pitches that can be easily replicated. Personalize your pitches, get to know your targeted journalists and their beat.
Don't kill creativity in the name of efficiency. At the end of the day, certain types of writing is more formulaic than others. I worry that content such as the listicle or the shopping story is easier to be be regenerated by AI, while those human interest stories, well-investigated features, and thoughtful personal essays are safer. AI is a thing because people are publishing and reading generic content, and computers have figured out how to do that job for us. But the more original and creative we are? That's how we out-last the computers.
AI may be capable of A LOT of things. But humans are capable of so much more. Who knows, maybe this is a push we need to get out of the rut that our industry has long been in. Being human, interacting with humans, feeling and doing human things, that's how we write good content. And machines can't do that. So many of my stories come out of the real human and life connections I make -- I get story ideas while roaming a new city while traveling, while experiencing new flavors while at dinner, or after a really meaningful conversation over martinis with a new friend. That's not something artificial intelligence can ever replicate.
We read as humans, don't we? That means we need humans also writing our stories.
Another reason I have hope: Recently I was scrolling Twitter, and saw a fellow writer made a rather hurtful comment about how those of us writing so much of the Valentine's Day content this season aren't even in relationships. While I found that to be kind of ridiculous because -- first of all, this person has no idea what is currently going on in my personal life or not -- do we not know, because we're not currently dating or married, what gifts are good picks for giving and receiving? That’s simply a human thing.
But then I realized, despite the mean spirit behind that tweet, it actually really helped to illustrate my point -- (so thank you, for that!). If this person believes that someone not in a relationship is less capable of writing a Valentine's Day gift guide...well, then certainly a robot wouldn’t be able to!
And speaking of Valentine’s Day content, check out my latest for SPY, where I share some really fun (read: cheesy!) Valentine’s Day cards to send this year.
Today’s Job Leads
Feel free to send me your job leads at any time — it’s completely free, and as I publish this newsletter six days a week, there’ll always be room to put it in the next available newsletter. Job leads are welcome at any time, whether or not they have appeared elsewhere, and I am fully open as well to whisper leads (not revealing the company) and internship opps as well as situations wanted.
JMGPR has an opportunity for an Account Executive professional with 3 years of relevant experience working with startup companies within the B2B or B2C industries. In this position, you will be responsible for managing client and media relations with daily responsibilities including writing media and client materials, as well as pitching and securing placements in strategic outlets. Please send resume, samples of secured press, and any writing samples to Bryan Adelson email@example.com or apply directly online here: https://tinyurl.com/ydc9mnd9
Bon Communications is looking for an Account Supervisor (5+ years experience) to join their team! With a small team of senior specialists and deep connections from coast-to-coast, Bon Comms delivers the expertise of a full-service PR agency to their impressive roster of chefs, bartenders, hotels, wine / spirit professionals, interior designers and more from all over the country. This team is Denver-based, but a remote candidate is a plus! If you're passionate about hospitality and lifestyle PR, please email Katie@boncomms.com to introduce yourself with a cover letter and resume.
Push The Envelope PR is a full service, boutique PR agency representing a thoughtfully curated collection of fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. They are looking for a highly skilled mid-to-senior level candidate with agency and CPG goods experience that will bring value to their team and to their clients by professionally consulting, educating, mentoring and delivering campaign goals. Send resume and cover letter to Brittany@pushtheenvelopepr.com or look for their job posting on LinkedIn.
Newly published or freshly updated
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!
Clean Plates: 8 Costco Foods Nutritionists Love for Valentine’s Day
Southern Living: Can You Freeze Sour Cream?
Southern Living: How To Boil Potatoes
YourTango: 7 Unsexy Ways To Be Sexier
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.
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.
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.
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.
For Today.com, I’m rounding up deals at chains for both National Pizza Day (2/9), and Valentine’s Day. This isn’t simply that you are doing a heart-shaped pizza or a special menu item, but that you are doing some sort of specific deal or discount — think BOGO, freebie, discount code, etc. If you have anything, please email me the name of the chain, where it is located (if it’s not national), what the deal is, and how to claim it.
I’m working on an explainer on how to preheat your air fryer. Clearly, I’m very aware of how to preheat an air fryer - I use it nightly! But, I’d love an air fryer expert of some sort (other than me, haha!), to weigh in on times they would preheat and times they would not, and why. And, also, the benefits of preheating in certain recipes.
For Clean Plates, I'm rounding up Trader Joe’s Foods Nutritionists Love for Winter Meal Prep - I'd love nutritionists and RDs to weigh in on those foods available at Trader Joe's they love, why they love them, how they use them for meal prep, and what makes them a great choice.
Planning a Super Bowl watching party at home this year? I’d love some party planners, chefs, bartenders, etc, to weigh in on what to serve, how to plan a great home viewing party, etc. Don’t really need full out recipes for this one, but more like descriptions and ideas.
Mardi Gras! It’s going to be here before we know it and I’m looking for fun and unique Mardi Gras-themed cocktails and desserts on bar/restaurant menus - and no, you don’t have to be located in NOLA. Anywhere doing something fun is very welcome. Please pitch me with:
Name of drink/dessert
Where served (city, state, name of restaurant, URL)
quote from chef/bartender about drink/dessert (please remember to include name and title of person quoted)
LINK to high res image
Here’s what I’m currently working on for Valentine’s Day:
The best gifts for a romantic dinner at home
For all of these guides (and honestly, most guides for any outlet, I would prefer all pitches be sent in the following format):
Name of product
link where sold, price
Description of product
LINK to high res image
*please please make sure that an item is not discontinued, and is currently available and in stock to ship and arrive before Valentine’s Day before pitching me. Sound obvious? I got a LOT of holiday pitches that did not fit this qualification!
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!)
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 (Recently 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!
Have a great day!