Thursday Edition: The incredible event I went to last night, tons of newly published stories, and more!
I had the BEST time last night. My friend Lisa and I attended a super intimate dinner held by Amazon in celebration of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime -- and the dinner even had a special menu curated by Marcus Samuelsson, inspired by The Rings Of Power.
Marcus has always been one of my favorite chefs, so it was an absolutely incredible honor to be at such a small, private celebration where he not only created the menu but was personally there to prepare it.
True story: Lisa and I do not know much about LOTR. I never watched the series. But we did know we needed to look the part as best we could for such a special event, so before going out last night to the dinner, we spent the afternoon at RPZL at The Plaza Hotel getting our braids on so we could appropriately travel to Middle Earth for the evening.
What a special night, and what an incredible honor to have been included!
At one point last night, Lisa and I looked around the gorgeous setting we were in, and marveled about how it was not so long ago that we were in lockdown and doing something like this felt impossible. If one thing positive came out of these terrible past few years, I think it’s that we’ll never again take for granted how blessed we are to be able to spend time with the people we love, and have these shared experiences, both big and small. To spend time with the friends we cherish, of course, but also that we can do events again and make new connections and expand our circles and our. networks and learn from one another.
We really are so incredibly lucky.
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Performance Media Managers + Specialists, for both the West Coast + East Coast to work at Influential.co. These roles will be responsible for the strategy, execution, performance, and reporting of paid campaigns across multiple social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. Reporting to the Director of Performance Media, this role will assist in the day-to-day stewarding of the media activity on assigned campaigns for our top clients, and help take social media planning to the next level. This role will manage the creation and execution of various media and measurement strategies, including, but not limited to brand awareness, foot traffic, online conversions, offline sales, tune-in, and more. They can apply with me directly by sending their resume to Carly@WeldRecruiting.co (not .com)!
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: Animal Cookies Sold at Target Are Being Recalled Due to Possible Inclusion of Metal Fragments
Forbes.com: This Creamed Spinach Is One Of The Best In New York City, And It Doesn't Even Contain Cream
Forbes.com: Vegan Caviar Bumps Offer Plant-Based Dining With A Touch Of Luxury
RetailMeNot: What Stores Are Open and Closed on Labor Day 2022
The Kitchn: This Popular Dishwasher Hack Promises to Give You Dry Dishes in 5 Minutes
Food Network: Chipotle Is Testing a New Spicy Protein Option, Chicken Al Pastor
Forbes: ‘Modern Jewish Comfort Food’ Offers An Updated Take On Classic Recipes Just In Time For The Jewish New Year
RetailMeNot: The Best Labor Day 2022 Sales to Shop Now
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 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.
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!
What to order at a Japanese restaurant - This is part of a series I'm working on about what to order for a specific cuisine. This is for the people (and we all have older relatives like this out there) who are extremely basic and regimented in what they eat and it's hard to get them to try anything new -- especially a new region of cuisine. So if they were to Google "what to I eat at..." it'd be a story like this. Or at least, that’s my plan!
I'm going to be doing a story on introducing someone like above to a Japanese restaurant (but not specifically sushi, though that’s obviously a component - it’s also its own category deserving of its own separate piece), and I'd love to chat with a Japanese chef/restaurant owner about the background and history of the cuisine. How would they describe it overall? If they could only use three words to describe it, what would they be? Do they think any other cuisines had a major influence on it? What dishes are their favorite? What would they tell someone about visiting a Japanese restaurant for the first time? Any advice? Should they be intimidated by the breadth of options?
And then I'd love to have them break down some of the dishes they'd recommend to newbies. Maybe some for if you're BASIC (haha) and then one that you should get if you want to be adventurous and one that's for the spicy-lover...maybe a must-try appetizer. Whatever! I'd also love to get photos of a few things on their own menu. And don't be afraid to storytell, too! Basically I'm going for - "what to order at a X restaurant. A chef and restaurant-owner explains." -- and if this goes well, I'm going to get to do it for other cuisines too, so that'll be fun!
I’m rounding up freebies, deals, and discounts at food chains in honor of the following upcoming food holidays:
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!)
For Forbes, I’m rounding up great takes on the martini in NYC - to pitch me for this, I’ll need a high res image of the martini (please send as a LINK, not as an attachment) as well as description of the martini and a quote from a bartender/owner/manager/chef at the restaurant/bar about the martini. I’m also going to incorporate a sidebar about creating a great martini at home, so I’m very open for pitches and commentary for that. By Friday please.
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’ll be doing a roundup of the best frozen cauliflower crust pizzas - as in the best tasting/best for you ones you can buy. I’d love RDS and nutritionists (unaffiliated with a brand ideally) to weigh in for a variety of pizza crusts - and I have a list I can share when you email me, as far as nutrient composition: Is cauliflower actually a primary ingredient or way down the list? If there are binders like rice flour or whatever, how refined are they / how nutritionally void? Taste: does it actually taste good? - I have a lot more specific metrics, and items I specifically want to touch on, so please email me before sending commentary and I’ll tell you what I’m looking for. (As far as formatting, look to this boxed mac and cheese story I did for the same outlet as far as what I’m looking for.)
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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 email@example.com to get something on my schedule for this fall.
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!)
That’s it for today! Have a great day and I’ll see you same place, same time, tomorrow!