Thursday Edition: How To Work From Home During A Power Outage (otherwise known as Aly trying to turn an annoying day until a productive one!)
Also: Tons of new pending assignments! Of course.
It's 7 am as I write this, and what a day it's already been!
Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night to discover the fan I keep next to my bed was no longer on. Of course, I immediately assumed that there was something amiss with the fan (which itself exists because of AC issues!) - but then I noticed everything else around my apartment was out too. Interestingly, my bathroom and kitchen still have power - but the rest of my apartment does not. So, it's not a blackout, but more of a partial blackout? I'm assuming it's related to a fried circuit breaker (Yes, I tried flipping the switches in the box, nothing happened), but I'm waiting on my super to answer my text and come check it out...(As this is a week to the day since the bird into the window incident, I’m ready to start burning some sage in this apartment…)
Meanwhile, I've set up a mock "office" in the kitchen (funny being a studio apartment kitchen is not an actual kitchen but more a counter in the corner of the room) with a stool, my fan, my computer, and my phone, which I am using as a hot spot, as since the electricity is out...the router is also out. There’s all of one outlet in there, so let’s see how that goes.
Rather than bemoan my own annoying morning — it could be worse, the fridge is fine and I have a lot of expensive meat and fish in the freezer I’d have hated to have lost! - I thought it may be productive to make today's tip about how to work during a power outage. As not only do I have several deadlines today and a TON of new stories pending (more on those below!), but I also have a consulting call this afternoon...and apparently I'm going to be doing it all from a stool in my kitchen on my hot spot! (Sorry, everyone!)
As many of us are working from home or have a hybrid work schedule these days, it's bound to happen for most people at some point that they will need to work through a power outage. And most of us do not have the luxury of just calling it an out day and heading out and about on a work day, we have to make the best we can of the situation. So here's some things to do when it happens to you:
1 - Notify your boss/client/editor about the situation. I have a consulting call this afternoon. They have a right to know if I'll be doing it from my kitchenette with a sink directly behind me. (Other option is to do it while sitting in my bathroom. That seemed rude.) Thank goodness for fun Zoom backgrounds!
2 - Have a backup internet connection. I use my phone as a hotspot, but just have a backup that you can use if you can't connect to your home internet, or it's down, and you need wifi. Options like a mobile broadband USB stick, or a modem that plugs in like a flash drive, may be your best bet.
3 - Keep your devices charged up so you have them powered in case this happens. Thankfully, my computer and phone were fully charged, and I do have this ONE working kitchen outlet. Otherwise, charge them in your car if you happen to own one.
4 Find a place where you can work. I'll show you a photo of my current "office." But if you have to make it a local cafe, do that. I am waiting on my super to show so I'm stuck here for now, but finding a place with electricity and wifi (and AC!) where you can work in the event your general working-space is compromised. Know where that place is, so when you need it, you can just go to it.
5. Be proactive and have a backup plan. That works for all work day complications, from travel delays to transit issues, to a random flood, to your power going out on the hottest day of summer! By being prepared, you can mitigate the disruption to your day and your schedule.
6. Prepare in advance. How to prepare in advance for an outage? Well, if you have important documents you need to download or print out for something you need to work on the next day, don't wait till the next day. Download or print it out when you think of it, so you know you'll have it when you need it -- no matter what roadblocks life sets in your way.
Newly published …
Food Network: Would You Have Your Wedding at An Aldi Store?
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 looking for nutritionists and RDs to weigh in on how to navigate hotel and/or cruise buffets. Like if we're going to be eating lunch or dinner at a buffet while traveling (or just end up there for dinner), what are some good (or less bad, better) choices we can make, and why?
My new piece for HerMoney is: The ultimate guide to getting the best possible price on a flight. I'm working on a guide on how to get the lowest price on a flight (booking less popular routes, new routes, weekdays, less popular airports , etc) - would love if a travel expert specializing in personal finance/budget travel can weigh in on this one!
I'm working on a produce-related story and could really use a food safety expert. (PhD, MD, etc.) would be great. Please drop me a note asap if you know or have someone.
For Forbes, I’m rounding up the celebrity chef restaurants that opened in the last year or so or are opening later in 2022 that are especially exciting. If you have any that might be a fit, please email me. I’ll need info about the restaurant, and some images I can use, and would LOVE if I could get a quote or two from the chef/owner. This is not a full-length feature on any restaurant but more of a roundup/list. (Though if any sound especially great I can consider for a more focused story down the line!)
I have a few weeks to play with these two, but that's because I need to compile a whole lot of info for these...
The Best Labor Day Sales to Shop Now - This is similar to the sales roundups I did for July 4th, Father's Day, and so forth. I'm rounding up the best Labor Day sales this year, focusing on major retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s etc. When pitching me, please include the details of the sale, if it’s in-store or online, and any cash back offers from RetailMeNot.
Your Guide to Labor Day Store Hours - I'm going to be doing a revamp of this article, about the store hours of major retailers during Labor Day weekend. I want to include the retailers that were in last year’s update (so please email me if you are any of those stores) but will be expanding and adding more in this update. Yes, this is very similar to the hours updates I've done for Memorial Day, July 4th, etc, so you know the drill by now as far as format goes!
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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 (I even recently 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!)
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