Special Friday Edition: A Few Words In Honor Of Her Majesty The Queen
This has been a really tough 24 hours for so many of us.
I have never had the honor of meeting Her Majesty the Queen, or any member of the royal family, but I've spent most of my life incredibly invested in royal family history and traditions.
I feel like for many of us, the Queen's loss hit us hard. She was someone who was there our entire lives, and our parents' entire lives. She defined not just a generation or several generations, but an entire era. Most of the people alive right now cannot remember a time when she was not Queen. As the world changed around us, and presidents and prime ministers came and went, she’s been a constant for nearly a century. And that makes waking up this morning an entrance into a strange new world that will feel profoundly different in innumerable ways.
One of my good friends, Traci, actually lives in London, and went to Buckingham Palace this morning to leave a note and flowers in tribute to Her Majesty. She was kind enough to do so for me as well. Maybe sometime in the future, when this is all less raw for all of us, I'll share the note I left.
In the interim, God Save The Queen. She will be missed by the entire world.
On a personal note, I was blown away by how many texts and emails I got over the last day or so from friends and colleagues who said when they heard the news they immediately thought of me. I felt a little bad taking their condolences, as I did not personally know this person, but I feel like this is a loss that we all share. Just about everyone I know has been sharing tributes and remembrances of their own on their social media and sharing how the Queen has touched their own lives.
Perhaps my biggest brush with Her Majesty was in 2018, just a month or so before the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. One of my dear friends, Nadine, and I were blessed enough to be on what we still consider one of our best press trips ever (if not THE best ever) - a nearly 2-week long royal-themed press trip of the UK. We visited all sorts of historical sites, but at one point, we visited Windsor Castle, and the flag was raised.
For those who are non-royal-followers, when The Royal Standard is flown, at royal residences, that is an indicator that the sovereign is present. So, we knew that the Queen was IN RESIDENCE at that very moment. We didn't directly cross paths with her, but at one point, we did see her walk past a window from well across the grounds (OK we were nowhere near her and in no way interacted but we DID see her and it was a big deal at the time.) - Nadine and I were texting for about 12 hours straight yesterday as the news developed. I knew, when all this was going down, just like all other pivotal royal moments, we just would uniquely get where each other was emotionally.
My good friend Jill though, who reached out yesterday from the epic Alaska trip she's currently on to check in (I have the most awesome friends, truly), told me a funny story that I wanted to share here: Jill told me that a few years ago, before we were really friends or really even were on each others' radar, she saw someone post on Facebook about some royal news that was making major waves at the time. She noticed that someone had commented on the post "Someone better check on Aly Walansky!" - Jill told me she wondered at the time...who is this Aly Walansky and why should people check on her? Is she part of their family? Is she the royal family's publicist? WHAT'S HER DEAL?
She was so curious, she dived a bit down the rabbit hole to find out more. She later found out, no, I was just a gal from Brooklyn who REALLY is into royal history and traditions. Lucky for me, it all made me intriguing enough that we're good friends now!
Thought that would be fun to share...and now onto today's news.
(And yes, in other news, I got my booster shot yesterday in between binging BBC all day and I'm hanging in there! Go get yours this weekend!)
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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!
Yahoo Life: What grosses 'Dr. Pimple Popper' out? Sandra Lee says she has a 'no internal organs, feet or eyeballs' rule in the kitchen. - my interview with the amazing Dr. Pimple Popper!
Clean Plates: 8 Frozen Foods at Trader Joe’s Nutritionists Love to Buy
Tasting Table: 16 Mistakes Everyone Makes With Sous Vide
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.
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.
For this week, I’m rounding up The Healthiest Costco Frozen Dinners to Buy Right Now. This is similar to other pieces I’ve done like this for this outlet where I’m looking for RDs and nutritionists (credentialed, and unaffiliated with a brand), to discuss THEIR picks for frozen meals at Costco and why they are delicious, healthy, based on ingredients, nutritional profile, etc. Please email me asap if you have someone to comment, or if that someone is you!
I’m gearing up to do a series on holiday travel (yes, we’re almost there!) — and I’m looking for personal finance and travel experts (especially budget travel experts) to weigh in on the following:
How to budget for holiday travel: I mean the holidays are still a few months away, which gives people some time to plan ahead, so I’d experts to weigh in on how to budget ahead for holiday travel, so far as planning a holiday fund, planning a budget, considering ways to streamline expenses (maybe an all-inclusive?). It’s also about how to create a realistic budget for travel -- considering transportation, where you are staying, how long you will be there, how you will get around while you are there, where you'll be eating, what you'll be doing for fun/entertainment.
Related, I’m working on a story that will roundup mistakes to avoid that will blow your holiday travel budget -- so that may be booking too early or too late, not accounting for the extras when planning your budget (we all think about airfare and hotel, but what about gas/tolls/snacks/etc), not getting travel insurance (a MUST these days), not budgeting for food/entertainment, not paying attention to hidden charges, etc - would love experts to weigh in for this as well.
I’m working on something (non-travel related) on holiday spending. Statistically, women spend more on Christmas gifts than men, and I’d love some personal finance experts to weigh on why this is. (Especially if you can reference stats/data). Do moms feel pressure to buy more when they're busy at work? Are women more likely to go into debt after the holidays? And for women who do experience holiday spending stress (raises hand!), how do we prepare? My research actually says NOW is the perfect time to start to prepare for seasonal costs (which is why…well, this is being written now!). Would love experts to weigh in.
What is mulled cider? -- Pegged to National Mulled Cider Day. This is a piece for those who want to drink it all through the holidays out into the world. I'd like to chat with a chef or bartender or food historian about the history and get a recipe from either the chef or a food blogger. Would need to make sure there are photos with the recipe, too, if possible!
I’m rounding up freebies, deals, and discounts at food chains in honor of the following upcoming food holidays:
National Cheeseburger Day (9/18)
National Coffee Day (9/29)
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!)
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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 fall.
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That’s it for today! Have a great day and I’ll see you same place, same time, tomorrow!