I want to start off this Friday newsletter with a bit of a head-scratcher for you...I'm hopeful maybe someone who is reading this right now can try to explain to me what just happened, because honestly, I'm at a loss!
Yesterday afternoon, I got an email notification about someone unsubscribing from my newsletter. It happens from time to time, no big deal (I understand my content may not be a fit for everyone’s needs!).
But when it's someone unsubscribing that I see were actively participating -- i.e. high open rate, clicking links, responding to pitch calls -- I like to reach out and check in. Perhaps there's some added value I can offer, or something that is missing from their experience and a way I can potentially remedy that. This is a work in progress here, we're all learning from each other, right?
Anyway, I soon got a response -- from that person's boss -- saying that their team had had a bad experience with another journalist on another Substack newsletter and had decided to not deal with any writers via Substacks anymore for that reason.
Now, I have no idea what happened with that other writer, and who was at fault or not at fault, and honestly it's not my business. But, more so, my question here is from a curious business tactic sense...if a problem was with an interaction with some specific writer, why cease dealing with all journalists on Substacks altogether? What did we do? What did Substack do? If this whole scenario is i really just about that specific relationship, maybe they should talk it all out amongst themselves and leave the rest of us out of it.
If that same interaction with that same writer, whatever may or may not have happened, had been via Instagram, or Facebook, or HARO or, hell, a regular old email, would they stop using that medium entirely as a pitching resource?
It's all just very curious to me and I'm trying to understand. But, also, as someone who shares the vast majority of my story opps exclusively via this newsletter, I hate the idea of anyone or their clients missing out. My aim here is to get as many great fits for stories as possible, and I'd hate it if drama that had nothing to do with me got in the way of that.
Anyway, that's that. And I'd love it if anyone can help me understand!
An editor friend of mine is in need of a chili pepper expert -- perhaps a chef who specializes in spicy foods? -- to comment for a story she's working on. This is NOT a story I'm doing, but I'm just forwarding some sources my friend's way - she'd need this expert to be able to answer some questions for her story. Email me if you have someone who may be a fit and I'll forward you her way!
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!
Food Network: Pillsbury and Lisa Frank Bring Back Their Unicorn Sugar Cookie
TODAY.com: Wrinkles, dark circles and dryness are no match for these drugstore eye creams
The Kitchn: These Single-Serve Brownie Cups Are Perfect for Valentine’s Day — And You Can Make Them in Your Air Fryer
Yahoo Life: Is lettuce getting more expensive? Experts explain the shortage and share alternatives to leafy greens.
RetailMeNot: 14 Best Galentine’s Day Gifts for Your BFFs
RetailMeNot: Affordable Valentine’s Day Gifts That Show Lots of Love on a Budget
Food Network: Dolly Parton Is Bringing More Mixes to Her Duncan Hines Southern Baking Line
TODAY.com: 10 drugstore wrinkle creams experts say are worth it — starting at $11
YourTango: 15 Teachers Reveal The Weirdest Things Their Students Have Ever Said
Forbes: Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: The Best Aphrodisiacs To Gift
Forbes: Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: The Best Global Specialty Ingredients For The Culinary Traveler
Forbes: It's Time To Plan Our Wine Pairings For Valentine's Day Dinner
YourTango: 7 Sneaky Ways Traveling Actually Makes You Healthier, Says Science
The Kitchn: I Tried the McBaguette Recipe from “Emily in Paris” and It’s the Chic Upgrade to a Cheeseburger That I Can’t Stop Eating
Food Network: Kelly Clarkson and The Jonas Brothers Collaborate On New Salty Snack
HelloGiggles: 9 New Products That Will Help You Be Healthier in 2023
Forbes: 30 Romantic Cocktails To Set The Mood On Valentine’s Day
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.
Here’s what I’m currently working on for Valentine’s Day:
The best gifts for a romantic dinner at home
The best luxury seafood boxes
The best interactive gifts for couples who love to cook together
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!
Sounds like a knee-jerk reaction from a boss that doesn't understand the importance of staying connected. I hope the account person you work with frequently moves on to a different firm!
Yah really bizarre....there's gotta be some other reason why. I agree with you - doesn't make sense to me. It would make sense if they were using a paid option and budget was an issue. Anyways, hope you have a great weekend! Happy FriYAY!