Thursday Newsletter: The Embargo Question And A Note About Sending Messengers (Also, bunches of new assigned stories and new published links - and a job lead!)
Also: Please send those National Pasta Day restaurant promotions and spooky Halloween cocktails ASAP - both those stories wrap up today. More below!
Well, the cat is finally out of the bag. Remember a few weeks ago, I teased that I had gone to Knoxville for the day but couldn't say why?
The embargo has finally lifted, and I can share the actual reason I was there -- it was for a pretty fun holiday liqueur collab launch. (Which will explain those reindeer...)
To read more, check out my newly published story links below, in my latest for The Kitchn. (Also, you'll see yesterday's National Dessert Day call-to-action is now published -- as a reminder for how quickly things move, and why it's so important to jump on story opps as quickly as possible.)
I cover a lot of embargoed stories, but this was my first PRESS TRIP under embargo and it was an interesting and rather unique experience for me.
And kind of cool to get to play covert and stuff. OH I'M HERE, BUT I CAN'T SAY WHY. But seriously - embargo is something that comes up in conversation often, and I'm 100% open to honoring them and always will if you ask me to. But if you are embargo-ing information, be sure it's actually embargoed information. It's always rather humorous to be told something is under embargo, and then Google it, and see it covered places and even already in stores! That wasn't the case here, but it does happen.
It kind of reminds me of someone who has a secret they beg you to not repeat but then you discover they've told everyone else that secret too, and it's actually pretty common knowledge. Don't be that person. That wasn't the case here. But it does happen!
Also, a few nuggets that have come up in conversations recently…
1 - Someone asked me yesterday, as I have lots of bullet points under pending stories I’m working on, the percentage of those that end up being actual stories. The answer is - all of them! Yes, every once in a blue moon, stories do get killed or shelved for a later date. But it’s a SUPREME rarity. If you see I’m working on a story, that’s not a story I’m considering pitching (there’s oodles more of those!), but a story that I have pitched, was assigned, and I will be writing and submitting shortly. Your best bet to be included is to pitch me for that story ASAP, even if the deadline is days away.
2 - Can we talk a bit about messengers? This is something that was obviously much more present back when many people receiving packages were working in offices. But I receive messengers quite often - to my home. This is fine!
I don’t mind at all if you choose to do a messenger vs. mailing certain things, especially if you, your product, and me are all located in the same city. (Which, clearly, being based in NYC is often the case!)
But, if you are going to send a messenger to someone’s home, it’s a good idea try to make sure they are HOME THAT DAY. Just about every week, I get a call or an email about a messenger who tried to drop something off and couldn’t because I was not home to receive it (alas, I am not living in a doorman building!). It’s a waste of your resources to do this, and it makes everyone feel bad - especially if we are dealing with something perishable that may go to waste. Best practice is always just to drop an email first and ask the journalist if there’s a time window that I’ll be home to receive before scheduling. (And, same goes for if you are sending over an Instacart for an upcoming Zoom…)
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: I Tried the New Eggo Nog Sippin’ Cream and It’s the Festive Addition You Need for the Season
TODAY: Celebrate National Dessert Day with these sweet treats and freebies
RetailMeNot: 16 Fruitcakes We’re Absolutely Nutty For (2022)
The Kitchn: Ina Garten Kicked Off the New Season of “Be My Guest” with Faith Hill’s Recipe for Coca-Cola Cake
HerMoney: How To Snag A Hotel Room Upgrade
HerMoney: The Best Timing for Hotel Bookings: How To Save On Your Stay
YourTango: 6 Subtle Signs Of Diabetes You Might Miss
Food Network: Chipotle’s Boorito Is Back In-Person After A Three Year Hiatus
Southern Living: Can You Safely Eat Sprouted Potatoes?
Forbes: Pink Cocktails That Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Food Network: Walmart’s Rollbacks and More Sale Is Here with Early Black Friday Deals
SPY.com: A Towel Warmer Will Ensure Toasty Towels for Those Cold First Steps Out of the Shower
Food Network: Wayfair's 5 Days of Deals Sale
YourTango: Believe It Or Not, DNA Testing May Help Save Your Cat's Life
Forbes: One Airline's In-Flight Dessert Options Just Got A Lot More Exciting
Yahoo Life: Chili crunch is the versatile condiment you need to be using. Learn the best brands to try, plus how to make it at home.
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.
Lucky Break PR is looking for a Senior Account Executive (PR) and Social Media Account Executive to join their Los Angeles team for a hybrid role (4 days in office, Fridays remote). Applicants should be highly organized, creative, and passionate about PR/Social Media. For more information on the individual positions and to submit a resume, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
I'll working on rounding up deals and freebies for National Pasta Day, and also Halloween. (Pretty please send the pasta deals/freebies today as this wraps up very very soon.)
If you have anything to pitch for any of the three of these, please make sure it's a deal at a chain, it's something tangible (not free delivery or rewards points but an actual freebie or discount, say, free donut with any coffee, or whatever), and how please tell me how people claim the deal (Rewards app? QR code? Code word? Let me know!)
As promised, I have my first (of more to come...) batch of Forbes holiday gift guides. The topics I am working on in this batch are:
The Best Culinary Gifts For Fans Of The Royal Family: Whether these are items that hold a royal warrant, are those that we know members of the royal family are fans of, or have another royal connection - for example, a wine poured at a royal wedding - I'm interested. This is NOT specifically limited to the BRF either, I'm interested in culinary gifts for fans of all royal families.
The Best Gifts For Seafood Lovers: I'm looking for both shippable seafood gifts, but also spices, kitchen tools, accessories related to preparing, cooking, and serving fish.
The Best Gear For A Starter Kitchen: Think starter appliances, multi-taskers, appliances, utensils, etc, that are good for small spaces.
For any of these, this is how I need to be pitched --
1 - Please start a NEW email, and make clear in the subject line which one you are pitching. Email that email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2 - Tell me the name of the product, URL where it is sold (if it's sold at several retailers, feel free to share links to a few), and price, and a brief description
3 - Include a LINK to a high res image (and please clearly mark and designate those photos)
All items pitched must be currently in stock and have online retail and be shippable nationwide.
What makes a recipe recession proof? Working on a probe which/what ingredients see the least amount of price fluctuations, inspired by this thread:
I’d love to chat with someone who specializes in consumer trends or food price trends or something along those lines and find out if there are ingredients that are less-likely to rise in price and pretty much stay around the same cost. I know dried beans is one...but also canned goods? All canned goods or certain ones but not others? Dried pasta? Ramen? Things like that? Chefs and restaurant owners would work well, too!
I’m also working on: Do you keep your butter in the in the fridge, or not? The world is split between whether butter should be kept out, stored in a cabinet (keeping it soft), or in the fridge. I’d love to talk to die-hard "butter goes in the cabinet" people and die-hard "no way keep it in the fridge" people. Why do they think what they think? If they have a partner, does their partner disagree? (I am team fridge BTW, but I know some chefs who are team counter!) And then, I’d like to talk to a food safety expert. Is butter OK left out at room temp? How should people preserve the safety of their butter?
Another story for Yahoo - How to make a Thanksgiving sheet pan meal. And also, how to turn leftovers into a sheet pan meal the next day? Not sure if that's a thing! I’d love to get chefs to weigh in on input, commentary, and also would love if someone is willing to share an easy for home cooks to follow recipe for a Thanksgiving-themed sheet pan meal (with images).
Share the Love!
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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.
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Have a great day!