Monday Edition: The frenzy before the calm
Hope you had a great weekend! Mine involved some serious puppy and couch time (it had been an intense week!).
I always found this week each December to be sort of the storm before the calm, so to speak. Everyone is in a frenzy to knock out as much as they can because starting next week, everything enters a period of quiet until the new year.
(As my birthday is a week from today, it always feels like this week is sort of a birthday preamble too, which is really fun in its own right.)
This weekend's industry insights edition covered the hot-button issue of planning and executing a great group press trip. You can still check it out here.
As teased in that email, I also had what is probably my final handful of gift guides of this holiday season published. You can catch them all in the "newly published" section below. You’ll also find my promised-roundup of Pantone Color the Year 2023 cocktails.
…And a reminder, before I get an influx of “can you squeeze us in?” emails…if I include a roundup of 25 cocktails or 20 stocking stuffers in a story, that means I received many times that amount in pitches. (Think: Hundreds, sometimes thousands.) A TINY percentage is included, and once the story is done, it is done.
There’s always next time! Increase your chances of being included by submitting by the deadline — earlier is always better, and making sure to included all requested deliverables, from image to necessary information, at the time of submission.
I think at the end of the day, adding up all my gift guides for various outlets, I ended up doing over a dozen this year...this is pretty wild. No wonder I’m so ready for some chill time!
And Valentine's guides are right around the corner (in fact, as you'll see in the pending stories section, I'm working on a few Valentine's pieces right now!)
Today’s intro section will be pretty abbreviated because I have a deadline I need to knock out this morning and also a consulting session I’m prepping for this afternoon. But more to come soon!
Mark Your Calendars!
As I mentioned last week, my good friend Alice Dubin is hosting an AMA tomorrow (12/13), covering big-picture planning and state-of-the-industry discussion. (Or as I like to put it, life administration!).
She's invited me to be a special guest speaker -- and our friend Zlata Faerman will also be guesting to chat all things affiliate. ALL questions are welcome for this one, so don't be shy!
You need to subscribe to Alice's Substack to join in, and all info on tomorrow's event is here.
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!
HelloGiggles: 13 Sexy Stocking Stuffers You Can Buy Online
Forbes: Viva Magenta: Pantone’s Color Of The Year 2023 Has Inspired Gorgeous Cocktails Nationwide
Eat This, Not That: This Is the Best Way To Cook Brisket, According to Chefs
YourTango: The Actual Best Time Of Day To Work Out So You Can Finally See Results
YourTango: 32 Beauty Gifts That'll Drive A Woman Wild (In A Good Way)
RetailMeNot: 16 Fruitcakes We’re Absolutely Nutty For (2022)
RetailMeNot: 12 Ugly Christmas Sweaters That Really Are Fabulous
Taste of Home: Martha Stewart Just Shared a Genius Hack for Removing Garlic Smell from Your Hands
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.
Trader Joe’s Frozen Foods Perfect for Valentine’s Day at Home: I’m looking to round up people’s Trader Joe's frozen items that would work well for a Valentine's Day celebration at home. This could be either for a date night or for a girl's night in. It’s a crowdsource but I’m also very open to those from RDs or nutritionists, as well.
Costco Foods Nutritionists Love for Valentine’s Day: I’m looking to ask nutritionists to share some of their favorite Costco finds that work well for a healthy Valentine's Day celebration.
More "food debate" goodness: I’m looking to talk to couples who argue over the correct way to load the dishwasher (and, no, you don’t have to be a foodie couple, I’m looking to get comments from anyone here in a couple who has a dishwasher that causes fights.) Why is it such a point of contention? Why does everyone believe their way is right and all other ways are wrong? And of course, I’d love to also talk to experts — a dishwasher manufacturer or maybe a home cleaning expert and find out how the dishwasher is "officially" supposed to be loaded/what goes where? (This will be similar to the butter debate story I recently did if you want to scroll to recently published stories for an idea of what it will look like.)
I’m working on two new gift guides pegged for - not holiday 2022 - but new years and Valentine’s 2023. I DO have a bit of time to play with on these, but the topics are:
Products to help you sleep better in 2023 - everything from bedding to supplements and more.
Sexy things to gift yourself this Valentine's Day - everything from underthings to more fun things, whether you have a partner or not.
Stores Open Christmas Day + Christmas Eve Store Hours - I’m working on a big update of this annual story (that includes DOZENS of stores of all types. It’s an update of this story from last year - so if you were included last year, and you can email me and confirm you are open (or not) and your hours, that would be a huge help. Otherwise, you’ll be hearing from me soon!
Stores Open New Years + Store Hours - Similar story, similar update! It’s an update to this story from last year. Same as above, if you were included last year (or think that you fit into the categories that you would be this year), please send me any updates to your info.
I do a lot of stories like these for them, so you probably already know the drill if we’ve worked on one of these together before - I’m not looking for one-off stores and their hours but more major chains and such.
I’m working on a roundup of standout hotel bars in New Jersey. Are they rooftop? Have a celebrity chef doing the food menu? Have gorgeous, unique cocktails? What makes it special? Email me and tell me more!
I’m also looking for online spots you can have your whole holiday dinner this year ordered and shipped to your door, both recipe kit options and reheat and serve options. If you represent any, please email me.
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 email@example.com to get something on my schedule.
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!