Monday Edition: 10-minute eggplant parm, pending assignments, and some tips for pitching as we roll into holiday gift guide season
Also: Job leads and newly published stories. It's a busy Monday!
Good morning and happy Monday!
It seems hard to fathom, but holiday gift guide time will be here before we know it. As a way of helping subscribers to this newsletter prepare, I'm going to be sharing a few quick and easy gift guide season pitching prep tips each week.
Today’s HGG prep tips can be found at the bottom of this email after all the usual daily free content (which will always stay free, that will never change!). The tips at the footer are under a paywall just for subscribers. (For now -- I promise to have some intel to share with everyone. I really want this Substack to be of value to the entire community.)
Hope it's helpful!
I’ll try to cover everything from pitching to followup to even details that come up a lot like the do’s and don’ts of sending images. Rather than bombard everyone all at once though, maybe it’ll be helpful to make it an ongoing series, a bit of a time? I hope so! Otherwise let me know if not.
As I mentioned last week, there’s also a gift-guide themed AMA Zoom in the works. More details on that soon. Saturday’s newsletter actually included a call-to-action about best times and days of the week, if anyone wants to throw their two cents in so I come up with a time that works for everyone.
Speaking of bombardment, I ended up having a pretty packed weekend finishing up some big assignments I have been working on for a while, but I am so excited to be starting a new week (mostly) caught up and able to take a bit of a breath. Which usually means another onslaught is minutes away!
But last night, I used that time to breathe to make one of my favorite easy air-fryer hacks -- air fryer eggplant parm. vegetarian, and lightened up significantly due to lack of frying or oil -- and ready in 10 minutes. Check out the recipe on my Instagram!
This weekend’s industry insights newsletter was about laundry. Except it wasn’t. Not really. But kind of! You can still see it 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.
Have a job lead? Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org - they are always free, and always welcome. This newsletter goes out six days a week, so if you have a preferred day to have it appear, let me know that as well - can't guarantee it will be that day, but I will do my best. Internship opportunities are welcome as well! Please remember to include location of the job and any contact information. Blind items are also OK if you are putting some feelers out but not ready to share the job is available.
RVD Communications is looking for a strategic, self-motivated, and resourceful account executive (AE) to join their thriving PR & marketing team. Candidates should have at least 1-2 years of full-time PR experience, working in-house or in an agency environment. The position includes a dynamic mix of strategy, client service, pitch writing, list building, research, reporting, and more. RVD team members are entrepreneurial and collaborative, and team members are encouraged to lead projects, stretch their skills, and gain valuable, hands-on experience.
They prioritize their team’s professional development and provide additional responsibility and promotions to team members who grow. RVD clients include F&B CPG brands (like W&P, Talia di Napoli, Partners Coffee, Mochidoki, & Seattle Chocolate), hospitality properties (like The Garret Bars, Bongo's, & Wiggle Room), femtech industry leaders (like Foria, MysteryVibe, & Pulse) and other lifestyle brands (like Courant, Maev, & Transcend). RVD is based in NYC (but they are fully remote!) and offers a strong benefits program (medical, dental, vision, 401K, paid maternity/paternity, summer Fridays, generous PTO, etc.
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!
The Kitchn: This Super-Easy Caesar Salad Recipe Is the Perfect Fit for a Lazy Day
Yahoo Life: Man discovers rare purple pearl in restaurant appetizer: 'Treasure hunting in a bowl of clams'
The Kitchn: Martha Stewart’s Super-Simple Recipe for Waffle Chips Will Be Your Go-To Snack for Tailgating Season
AllRecipes: The 7 Best Hot Food Containers
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.
I'm working on the following new stories:
How to save at Uber Eats
How to save more at DoorDash
Shoppers Guide To Aldi - guide a first-time Aldi shopper through the differences (ie, shopping carts, checkout, etc.) Plus, ways Aldi helps you save (best products to buy there, etc.)
For all three of these, obviously I'm going to myself shop there and find ways to shop and save money and little time saving tips, but very open to expert advice as well.
I’m rounding up freebies, deals, and discounts at food chains in honor of the following upcoming food holidays:
National Burger Day - wrapping this one up in the next day or so!
National Cheese Pizza Day
National Coffee Day
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 summer.
Are you confused about affiliate marketing?
If you are having trouble learning how to navigate issues of affiliate marketing (trust me, we've all been there!), you may want to try out my friend Sarah Karger, a publicist, and former editor Dana Baardsen (and all-around fab girl!)'s 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!)
See below for this week’s holiday gift guide season preparation tips!