Discover more from Aly Walansky's Newsletter
Friday: I have an ASAP need for commentary from both dermatologists and RDs! Scroll to open story opps for more information.
Also...can we chat about off-topic pitching?
Good morning and happy Friday!
This will be a busy day as I’m on deadline and my furbabies have a grooming appointment this afternoon (which will mean cute new photos on IG later!).
But until then…
Phew...can we talk about something a little uncomfortable for a minute?
I get it. I understand. You have clients breathing down your neck and you are just trying to throw whatever you can at the wall and see what sticks. But if you're looking for a great cheeseburger, the place to go isn't going to be a vegan restaurant, right?
I'm just saying, your time is at least as valuable as mine. Don't waste your time suggesting a really far and bendy reach to a topic I'm working on just to throw it out there. i.e. if I'm working on a story of great seafood gifts for the holiday season, don't suggest I throw in a great porterhouse steak option for those who love beef. I love beef! There'll be beef stories. This, however, is a seafood one. And if I'm working on a roundup of culinary gift ideas for people really into royal history, don't suggest your eyeshadow palette that happens to be named royal greens. That has nothing to do with the royals. Or, well, food.
I don't dictate the parameter of my assignments, the assignment (and the assigning editor) does. And those who assign what they assign aren't going to let me put a one-pot recipe into a sheet pan meals story rather than a sheet pan recipe because it sounds like a fun twist. It's just not the assignment.
But as you can see daily -- I get new assignments every single day. There's always opportunities for me to consider your client for stories that ARE a fit for what I’m working on. Rather than try to fit a square peg into a round hole, lets work together to find a square hole for your peg!
(OK, that sounded wrong but you get me...)
My goal is for every product and source and publication and expert and writer and publicist to do well. I want every single one of us to succeed. If you are not a fit for a story, it doesn't mean you won't be for another story. Just don't try to cut off your toes to make your foot fit into the shoes of THIS story.
There'll be others!
Here’s how to win a FREE virtual consult for your agency
As I mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, this substack has a fun new holiday promotion. Please share this newsletter with everyone you work with. Every last one! I am going to offer what I think is a powerful incentive: The agency/company/office that has the most new subscriber sign-ups to my Substack between now and Thanksgiving will get a FREE virtual consulting session with me during the month of December. This is something I normally charge for, and is a great deep dive into all sorts of media issues and I’ll do it for one agency for free - if they get the most sign-ups to my Substack in the next month.
And it doesn’t even have to be paid subscribers. I’d LOVE that, of course, but I’m convinced once they hang around here for a bit and see the added value, they’ll want to upgrade anyway - I just want to expand the community here for the betterment of all of us. I can share how best to pitch me, and you can learn a bit from my experience in the process. And, besides, the more people who receive my newsletter, the more awesome pitches I can receive, and the more of your clients I can include - and we ALL win there.
This is the holiday season, you are pitching about gifting, I’m writing about gifting, but let’s remember that at the core, it’s really about being generous with one another. Let me be generous with you.
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!
Southern Living: Air Fryer Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
HelloGiggles: 13 Peacock Green Clothes and Accessories for Fall
RetailMeNot: 16 Fruitcakes We’re Absolutely Nutty For (2022)
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.
I'm working on a story on Great Lip Balms for Fall So You Never Get Those Dreaded Chapped Lips - i'm looking for both great lip balms and also a derm to chat with over email as to what to look for in a great lip balm. Please email asap - especially if you are a derm! (i need to wrap this story up this weekend!)
Best Home Organizational Products to Set Up Your New Year Right -- To pitch me for this one, please be sure to include product name, details, specs, cost, and retailer link(s).
Best holiday popcorn tins: To pitch me for this one, please be sure to include product name, details, specs, cost, and retailer link(s).
Trader Joe’s Frozen Appetizers Perfect For Holiday Parties: I’m looking for RDs and nutritionists to weigh in on their favorite Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers for holiday parties and why - how they use them, why they are good choices, etc. Please reach out ASAP if you have someone who can comment.
Products That Will Actually Make You Excited to Workout: Believe it or not, some people actually DO get excited about workouts!
I am working on rounding up deals and freebies for Halloween. I might also be working on one for National Chocolate Day, depending on the response I ge.
If you have anything to pitch, please make sure it's a deal at a chain, it's something tangible (not free delivery or rewards points but an actual freebie or discount, say, free donut with any coffee, or whatever), and how please tell me how people claim the deal (Rewards app? QR code? Code word? Let me know!)
As promised, I have my first (of more to come...) batch of Forbes holiday gift guides. The topics I am working on in this batch are:
The Best Culinary Gifts For Fans Of The Royal Family: Whether these are items that hold a royal warrant, are those that we know members of the royal family are fans of, or have another royal connection - for example, a wine poured at a royal wedding - I'm interested. This is NOT specifically limited to the BRF either, I'm interested in culinary gifts for fans of all royal families.
The Best Gifts For Seafood Lovers: I'm looking for both shippable seafood gifts, but also spices, kitchen tools, accessories related to preparing, cooking, and serving fish.
The Best Gear For A Starter Kitchen: Think starter appliances, multi-taskers, appliances, utensils, etc, that are good for small spaces.
For any of these, this is how I need to be pitched --
1 - Please start a NEW email, and make clear in the subject line which one you are pitching. Email that email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2 - Tell me the name of the product, URL where it is sold (if it's sold at several retailers, feel free to share links to a few), and price, and a brief description
3 - Include a LINK to a high res image (and please clearly mark and designate those photos)
All items pitched must be currently in stock and have online retail and be shippable nationwide.
How to make a Thanksgiving sheet pan meal. And also, how to turn leftovers into a sheet pan meal the next day? Not sure if that's a thing! I’d love to get chefs to weigh in on input, commentary, and also would love if someone is willing to share an easy for home cooks to follow recipe for a Thanksgiving-themed sheet pan meal (with images).
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 email@example.com 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!)
have a great day <3