Thursday Newsletter: En route to Louisville!
Before I even start this morning’s newsletter (which I’m writing from LGA as I wait for my flight to Louisville to board), I wanted to send a major thanks to the Nuts.com team. As I was readying to leave this morning for the airport, I was greeted by this incredibly sweet Rosh Hashanah gift basket from their team!
Not only does it provide a few snacks perfect for a travel day but I’m excited to nosh on it with my family over the holidays.
In other news…
I'm about to embark on an insanely busy week that is bookended by two trips and the days in the middle are the Jewish New Year....meaning, it'll be October before I have a normal work day sitting at my own home desk again.
Not that I won't have workdays most days in between (but not at my desk!). Today's workday is brought to you from inflight wifi en route to Louisville, Kentucky. I was just there a few months ago for the Derby and had the best time, so I was super excited when it turned out I'd be going back so soon.
Sometimes, people ask me if virtual events are still a thing or if everyone is far more into IRL ones now. Both are true.
This week, I did a one-on-one dinner with a team on one night, and also a more formal group press dinner the next night, and last night, I attended a virtual cooking class with a pretty major celebrity chef in celebration of a new product from his well-known pantry item line.
I can't embellish further because the products we used in the demo are embargoed for a few more weeks, but holy HELL was it fun and I can't wait to share what I made and how great the class was...when I'm allowed to. Sorry! But the answer to that question as illustrated above is yes. Hybrid structures are the way to go. Many of us are attending events again in real life, but we're also going to virtual events. Both very much have a place.
This trip will be packed with a whole lot of bourbon-related research, which is always exciting. As everyone knows, I’m mostly a wine or vodka martini girl, so every time I attempt to immerse myself in the rest of the spirit realm (so to speak), it’s something of an adventure. But as much as I don’t drink bourbon often, I really respect it from a historical and technical standpoint, and I’m excited to delve a bit deeper.
Once these next few days are behind us, my mind is very much on cooking with my mom for Rosh Hashonah when I return. It took many years for her to let me into her kitchen, so now that I am allowed, it's something I don't take lightly!
We have lots of cooking in store, and it'll absolutely be on my Instagram stories this weekend. Meanwhile, today for Forbes I wrote a story about some boxes and sets to get for the holiday, from desserts and treats to full-on meals. I happen to have a mom that is the BEST cook, but if you don't like to cook - or won't be able to cook this year - there's lots of options! (And, honestly, it's never a bad idea to cook dinner and outsource dessert - I've interviewed celebrity chefs who have shared that they do that for their own dinner parties!)
But the holidays are a few days away, and for right now, I need to focus at the issues at hand. That'd be my work this trip -- and the assignments I'm working on this week.
Favorite accessory of the moment
You may have noticed in some of my event and dinner photos of late I've been wearing a fun braided headband -- it's from my incredible friends at RPZL and I'm obsessed.
And I have exciting news, for a limited time, my subscribers will get 50% off one of their own with the code BFF50.
This is a special deal just for subscribers of mine and Amber's substacks, so you are in very good company!
Also check out Amber's amazing hack for using the headband in an unexpected but gorgeous way:
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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!
Her Money: How To Get Free Stuff At The Airport
The Kitchn: New Halloween Cups from Starbucks Are Here
Taste of Home: Why Is Some Cheddar Cheese Orange?
RetailMeNot: 7 Ways To Save More on DoorDash
RetailMeNot: How to Shop at Aldi: A Guide for First-Timers
RetailMeNot: 10 Ways to Save More on Uber Eats
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.
Fruit Cakes We're Absolutely Nutty For - I'm actually updating a story I wrote last year. If you represent any great fruitcakes sold online that are shippable in time for the holidays (or just have a favorite I should know about), please let me know! And if you represent any of the ones already included, and there's updated information I should have (pricing, availability, ingredients, what have you, please contact me as well.)
1. How to Secure an Upgrade on Your Hotel Room -- looking for travel experts to weigh in. Specifically looking for to include ideas, hacks, tips "that you didn't know" or "that you've never tried" etc.
2. To Book or Not to Book?: Does Timing for Hotel Bookings Really Matter? Would be curious to know if time of day and day of week matter in terms of when you make the reservation (I've heard Tuesday mornings are good, but maybe that's BS??) and then also curious how far in advance is too far in advance? Would love experts to weigh in on this.
3. How to do a Friendsgiving on a budget. Would love entertaining experts to weigh in!
National Taco Day is a few weeks away and I’m looking for fun, unique, inventive tacos. If your restaurant has something really cool and interesting and delicious, please send me the following: Name of dish, where sold, description, quote from chef about the dish, and a high res image.
I’m rounding up freebies, deals, and discounts at food chains in honor of the following upcoming food holidays:
National Coffee Day (9/29)
National Taco Day (10/4)
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!)
Share the love
Every morning, I share what I’m working on that day and links to newly published stories and send it right into your inbox — for free! I also share productivity tips, job leads, links to volunteer and mentoring opportunities, recipes, and more — all always free.
Please share this newsletter with a friend or colleague today. Every Friday, I randomly choose one new free subscriber who signed on that week. They will be automatically upgraded to a paid subscription for free — and, if they tell me who referred them to this Substack, that person will as well! These opportunities only get better if we share them with our friends.
Paid subscriptions get additional benefits, such as my weekly industry insights newsletters, subscriber Zoom chats, and much more.
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.
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!)
That’s it for today! Have a great day and I’ll see you same place, same time, tomorrow!