Monday: Exciting news to share!
Also: All the assignments I'm working on this week - keep scrolling, it's a lot!
I hope everyone had a great weekend. We celebrated Scarlette’s birthday with a small family party, and it was (as expected) incredibly adorable.
As for some news I can finally share:
I was HONORED a few months ago when Jewish Family Service Los Angeles asked me to contribute a recipe and some commentary to a cookbook they were creating and releasing just in time for the holidays.
JFSLA is a non-profit social services agency providing essential, life-improving services to the people of Los Angeles, such as domestic violence resources, mental health support, support for basic food needs, and support for the elderly.
They also offer JFSLA Food & Hunger Programs including food pantries and a Senior Nutrition Program, which delivers nutritious hot and frozen kosher meals to homebound seniors and people living with disabilities.
Now, you may wonder what a cookbook has to do with all this. They created the cookbook in order to raise awareness and funds for JFSLA, but also help small businesses and restaurants in the food services industry, who have been going through a lot since the pandemic. 100% of the proceeds for the cookbook will be donated to JFSLA, and earmarked for Food & Hunger Programs specifically.
One humbling aspect of this book (and incredible project) is that it includes recipes from some chefs whose work I hugely admire (check out the list of all the chefs involved here!), such as Adeena Sussman and Michael Solomonov, and I couldn't believe they asked ME to contribute recipes and images and stories alongside huge names like them! Like these are people completely out of my league. I'm not even in the league. I'm not even in the city where the league plays!
If you want to order the Jewish Family Recipes cookbook, you can order here -- I donated my time and content to this project, and will not be making a penny off the book - but I do want to support it in any way I can.
So: If you do buy the cookbook, let me know, and I'll upgrade your subscription to my Substack for three months for free as a personal thank you. And please let me know if you try out any of the recipes in there, mine or anyone else's! I'd love to see what you think!
I'm just looking to help people, and if you help me help people, I'll help you in any way I can -- assuming increased access to my newsletters is helpful for you! (But if there's anything else I can do for you ever, please let me know.)
As for the book, it's pretty exciting because even though i'm the TINIEST part of a bigger movement with far more exciting people -- I've wanted to write a book for ages, whether it be a cookbook or a romance novel, and have always been so intimidated at the process -- and lacked the self-esteem to even approach trying. So, being a small part of something so meaningful -- that also makes me a published cookbook co-author...well, that's an amazing way to kick off the holiday season.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read all this. The holidays are about giving and helping the people who need our help, and any time we can spend focusing on that and not all the unnecessary noise and chaos around us, is really the most important thing of all.
And now let’s get to what I'm working on today!
This weekend’s industry insights edition was all about vetting — both sources and journalists. You can still check it out 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!
The Kitchn: These Cranberry Cookie Sticks Are Just as Delicious as They Are Beautiful
Tasting Table: 10 Salmon Myths It's Time You Stopped Believing
YourTango: 8 Best Hanukkah Books For Kids
YourTango: How To (Safely) Bleach Your Hair At Home, According To Stylists & Colorists
The Kitchn: Bean Box Just Brought Back Its Sold-Out Coffee Advent Calendar for Another Year
Taste of Home: You Can Get a Free Aldi Gift Card This Holiday Season—Here’s How
Yahoo Life: Should butter be stored at room temperature or in the fridge?
RetailMeNot: 12 Best Home Organizational Products to Set Up Your New Year Right
SPY.com: Don’t Show Up Empty-Handed! Check Out the Best Hostess Gift Ideas
HelloGiggles: 10 Travel Gift Ideas For Your Friend Who Has Serious Wanderlust
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 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.
Eat This, Not That
Best Matzo Ball Soup Recipes to Make Tonight
I’m working on a slideshow featuring a different variety of matzo ball soup recipes. I’m happy to link out to food bloggers/websites (but not other publications) that have great matzo ball recipes to link to, but I am not interested in having recipes emailed to me. This isn’t that kind of story. It’s more a roundup of fun recipes out there to try, and ideally I’d love if they put some sort of unique spin on the classic.
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.)
So you got a new air fryer for Christmas...here's what you need to know (I mean, everyone knows I’m going to want to write this story! — People will be getting air fryers left and right, so I want pro-air-fryer food bloggers, influencers, chefs, cookbook authors, and do a little basic explainer on how to work an air fryer, what you can cook in it, how to clean it, etc. etc. I would love to also ask each expert I talk to for their favorite air fryer recipe and link to it. (Clearly, I have some STRONG feelings of my own on this topic!)
Leftovers storage guide - I’m looking to speak with food safety experts to find out answers to some popular leftover storage questions. How long are leftovers good in the fridge? Do you need to let leftovers cool before you put them in the fridge or can you put them in hot? What containers are best? Etc.
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 working on a roundup of fun, unique, or just delicious Hanukkah-themed cocktails and/or desserts on bar/restaurant menus. This can be anywhere nationwide, but must exist on a menu at a bar or restaurant. If you have anything that may fit, please email me asap with a description of the cocktail, the name of the cocktail, where it is served, a quote from the bar manager/bartender/owner about the cocktail, and a LINK to a high res image. - THIS ONE IS BEING WRAPPED UP TODAY.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Congratulations. It's a testament to your own efforts and passion for food. And should you ever decide to write fiction, feel free to give me a shout as I'd be happy to offer you some tips to get you started.
Hi Aly! I want to gift subscriptions to your Substack to 1-2 friends. To do so, should I just sign up with their names and emails? Thank you! 💜