Friday: New gift guide assignments pending! Also: A timely reminder about perishable mailings and deliveries
Plus: Some of my upcoming travel plans this month
As we're in the season of holiday gifts and holiday gatherings -- including virtual ones that may involve cocktails or cookalongs -- I thought it was a good time to share a reminder about an issue I tend to get very soap boxy about.
Just in the last 24 hours, I've had discussions with a bunch of my friends about various unexpected perishable mailings or courier deliveries they had received when not home just this week.
Maybe they were away for the weekend, maybe they were on a press trip, maybe they just were out and about for the day at meetings and appointments and did not have someone home to receive an unexpected messenger delivery of seafood or cheese and so it sat in the street all day unrefrigerated. (Sound wild? It happens. All the time.)
If you send someone a package that contains anything perishable -- meat, fish, dairy, even something like produce, it's really important to coordinate with them a time and date that they will be home and able to receive.
It's also important to check in about potential allergies or sensitivities, or even aversions. Maybe they are vegetarian, kosher, dairy-free, gluten-free, or maybe they are allergic to nuts. Sending food packages with no warning or advance discussion can lead to a whole lot of potential risks.
But even if none of those are the case...if they are not home to receive your package, that means the costs associated with sending it go to waste. Products go to waste. If it's for a virtual cookalong? Those ingredients are no longer usable and those people can no longer participate.
Always provide ingredient lists for upcoming virtual cookalongs. Don’t let a plant-based person discover a recipe involves lamb and three kinds of dairy after the Instacart delivery or mailing has already arrived at their front door when you could have offered modifications that work for their dietary needs and would also present a variation of the recipe. Present a list of ingredients and ask if there’s any modifications necessary before arranging a delivery — at a mutually agreed upon time.
This is a soap box I've often found myself on, and to longtime readers, this may sound a tad redundant. But it's a topic that has come up in my consulting calls often (and I do consult on virtual event planning and also effective media mailers! Email me!). The best course of action is to always drop an email and ask people:
Do they want to receive....? (Tell them exactly what’s coming, and how much of it…you may all recall my 50-pounds-of-unexpected bacon story from last year.)
Will they be home to receive...?
Is there a preferred day/time window TO receive?
And give options. If you are doing a virtual pasta making class, present a plant-based option. If you are doing a cocktail class, present a mocktail option. The more we communicate on these matters, the better the results and more effective the mailer or event.
Thanks for attending my TED talk.
I’ll be in Saint-Martin week after next for their big culinary festival and in Toronto the week after (my first visit ever to that part of Canada - but obviously I’m extra excited due to the Duchess of Sussex connection).
Let me know if you’ll be there too and possibly we can connect!
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!
The Kitchn: Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s New $20 Kit Will Give You Cheesecake Shaped Like a Designer Handbag
Food Network: Stouffer’s Bloody Mary Mix Is Inspired by Its Famous Lasagna – And the Brand Is Giving It Away for Free
Eat This, Not That: I Tried Chrissy Teigen's New Baking Mix—and Now I'm a More Confident Baker
Forbes: Holiday Gift Guide 2022: The Best Culinary Gifts For Fans Of The Royal Family
Food Network: Kraft Real Mayo and Juicy Couture Come Together for a Smooth Collab
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 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.
I’m working on this HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Gift ideas for your friend who has serious wanderlust. Send me your pitches!
Have restaurant chain food deals in store for Veterans Day? Email me!
A reminder: I’m interested in deals other than stuff like free delivery or extra rewards points in the app. Deals should involve a dollar amount off a purchase or a BOGO of some sort or an actual freebie. And they should be available everywhere, not just at a single location. Please also explain how someone claims the deal and exactly how long the deal will be good for.
Products That Will Actually Make You Excited to Workout: Believe it or not, some people actually DO get excited about workouts!
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 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 email@example.com
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.
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!
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!)
have a great day <3