Thursday Newsletter: How to get work done while on a plane, some fun news, and freshly published stories!
Good morning (er, afternoon!)
Apologies for the SLIGHT delay in posting this morning’s newsletter…as is the way in most air travel these days, my flight was delayed. (And for the funniest of reasons, I’ll be sure to share that soon.) And also my nonstop flight to Vegas suddenly is going to be stopping in St. Louis for a bit…
But all is well. By later today, I’ll be having delish food and cocktails in the name of journalism…and in air conditioning!
Today's productivity tip is one that I hope will be useful to many of you -- whether you are here reading this as a publicist, a writer, or another related field, you probably sometimes are trying to work while on a plane. And that means you probably sometimes are ready to tear your hair out over in-flight wifi. I've been there. I'M OFTEN THERE. And over the years, I've discovered a few hacks that help me make inflight wifi work better, or at least get more out of it.
1 - Make sure your photo backups and automatic updates are disabled. They may be running in the background by default, and this can really slow down that already-slow wifi.
2 - Don't even try to download big files. Need to listen to an audio file so you can transcribe it in the air? Download it before you get on the plane.
3 - Disable all browser extensions, pop-ups updates, and background apps. Anything that knows your location (that's even maps and weather) sucks the air out of your bandwidth.
4 - One tab at a time. Yes, I love multitasking too. But the more tabs that are open, the more tabs are trying to load at once. Use a single tab at a time, and remember to close that tab before going to something else.
5 - Try to load the mobile version of a website, even if you are on your computer -- that simply will load faster.
6 - If there is a site you plan to load when you get on the plane -- maybe it's your email, maybe it's a document server or content management system or even a calendar -- open it before you board so that you don't have to first load it from scratch when you are on board.
7 - Work on anything you can work on offline. That is more doable than you may think. I work a lot in Google Docs - you can set those to be edited offline and then share your updates when you are back on wifi. You can also download your email, read it, respond, and send when you are back on wifi. There's a lot you can do without using that data!
All this will help you make the best of the wifi, but also, I encourage you to do your best to situate yourself near a power outlet whenever possible! When you log into your booking to check in to your flight, that's a great time to check out a map of the plane and try to find a spot for yourself where you are more likely to have power. With great power comes great responsibility. (Or, rather, with power, you can fulfill your responsibilities!) -- and be sure to have ALL your devices charged (that's your phone, your computer, your tablet), before you even board that plane.
Hey, this is fun!
Last week, I did a consulting session with GreenRoom, a Miami-based agency, and they created this super fun little gallery of some of their favorite little tidbits I shared about media/PR relationships, pitching, events, follow ups, and more. Scroll through below if you are interested! And let me know if you ever want to book one of your own!
C&R a PR/Marketing agency, is actively looking for AE/SAE/AS level real estate PR pros to join their growing team in Los Angeles and NYC. At the intersection of real estate and hospitality, C&R has a unique niche, representing some of the most iconic projects in the destination and branded real estate category. Marquee clients include: Montage/Pendry Residences (AOR), Four Seasons Residences Costa Palmas, and luxury developments throughout Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, as well as top US destination markets. They offer strong compensation packages, flexible work schedules, a “work anywhere” policy, amazing team culture, and more. If you are interested in learning more, email your resume to email@example.com.Get a special group rate
I’m now offering a 50% discount on paid subscriptions when purchased as part of a group subscription (that’s four or more people). It’s a great way to get your team involved and save some cash.
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!
Clean Plates: Nutritionists Explain How to Navigate Buffets for a Healthy Meal (That’s Still Fun)
Food Network: I Tried The Rock’s Cheat Day French Toast And It’s Just As Good As He Says
Forbes: It's Now Acceptable To Enjoy A Blueberry Martini For Breakfast
Food Network: What Does Coca-Cola Dreamland Taste Like?
Food Network: Dunkin’ Releases Fall Menu Early and It’s Full of Pumpkin Spice Goodness
Clean Plates: Ordering in Tonight? Dietitians Share Their Go-to Takeout Order
The Kitchn: Martha Stewart’s Tasty Spin on Potato Salad Will Become Your Favorite Way to Make It
Clean Plates: 10 Plant-Based Dips That Can Take the Place of Hummus During the Chickpea Shortage
Southern Living: Peach Salsa
Southern Living: Peach Margarita Recipe
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.
I’m looking for RDs and nutritionists to comment on: Best frozen foods at Trader Joe's nutritionists love when they don't feel like cooking. The usual format for the stories I do here - I’d love the nutritionist or RD (please be sure to include relevant credentials, and I would prefer sources that are unaffiliated with a brand) to tell me what the food is, why it’s a good choice nutritionally, and why they like it (and also how they enjoy eating it, if they mix it with something else, or something). These can be frozen foods you eat still-frozen (like a fro yo or whatever) as well as the best/healthiest frozen TJ's dinners that you heat up in the microwave or oven. I’m TRYING to wrap this one up before I travel this week, so would love to hear from people who can respond in the next few days.
I’m putting out feelers for a potential story that may be in the works regarding simple and affordable ways you can keep your apartment cool when it's hot out. This would be part lifestyle hacks (say, changing out your lightbulbs, creating a cross breeze) and part product driven. Open to expert commentary!
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!
I’m rounding up freebies, deals, and discounts at food chains in honor of the following upcoming food holidays:
National Burger Day
National Cheese Pizza Day
National Coffee Day
Some of these food holidays are not until September so I have a bit of time, but earlier, the better, always. (I tend to get SO many food-holiday deal related pitches when it’s already THAT DAY and the story is already published. Then it’s too late! Get these deals to me early for the best chance of getting them included.)
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 email@example.com 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!)
Download the Substack App!
Good news! This newsletter is now available via app. That means you can keep up with everything you are reading from your phone. Download the app for iPhone and iPad here. For Android users, sign up for the waiting list here.
have a great day <3
The tips for inflight wifi....thank you! Working on a plane is a dream until it becomes a nightmare. I love that there are no constant distractions. I can churn out a ton of work on a flight. But when wifi is iffy, and it often is, I'm pulling my hair out. I am taking an international flight in 10 days and will try your suggestions!!