Tuesday Edition: My thoughts on how productivity is all about maintaining momentum
Also: Newly published stories, job leads and what I'm working on this week.
Today is going to be a kind of intense day as I have a whole lot of work to get done before a travel day tomorrow.
Yesterday, I did a virtual consulting session with a team that I really enjoy working with. What I really love is that they came to the consult super prepared. They had attended the AMA Zoom last week and read my newsletter daily, even the weekend industry insights editions. They asked questions that took all that tips and commentary a step further -- which is exactly what I go for with these sessions. If you book a virtual consult, you have me all to yourself for an hour. Use it to its fullest potential!
Speaking of fullest potential, I have not done a productivity tip in a bit, so here's one for you: There's no mystery to productivity. It's not reinventing the wheel or learning how to bake bread. We know what we need to do, we just need to DO IT.
And that's about momentum. It's not about activity, it's about productivity. It's a means to an end and not just looking very busy and telling people how busy you are (which actually just takes away from doing things you need to do). And what's all about going into deep, focused work. Focus is the most important part of the whole game. That's why it's incredibly rare you'll see me away from my desk during workday hours -- I'm all about staying in the zone, and that gives you consistency, but also makes you reliable and someone clients can count on. The reason I get so many fast-turnaround stories isn't because I'm better at them than anyone else, it's largely because people know they can always count on me to be at my desk during specific hours, on my email, and available. Be that person, regardless of your field and concentration.
Things move rather quickly here. You may have noticed I did a call to action for National Cheeseburger Day pitches yesterday morning. That story was not only wrapped up yesterday, but published yesterday. Things like that happen all the time. In fact, many of my stories never even make it to this newsletter as a pending piece because I am assigned it, write it, and it’s published too quickly. Something to keep in mind.
Remember Newton's first law of motion: Every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.
We're always cautioned against yo-yo dieting, because stopping and starting just doesn't work. Don't be a yo-yo at work!
PS: There’s pretty fun fast food news coming today. I can’t share it here yet because the news is embargo’d until 11 am, but the story is already written and I’ll share it on my social media in a few hours!
The Brooks Group, a Lifestyle PR agency known for working with the biggest personalities in food and travel, is adding a Publicist and Senior Publicist to their remote team. For more information and to apply, click here.
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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!
The Kitchn: This Gluten-Free Coffee Banana Bread Recipe Is the Tasty Treat You Need to Jumpstart Your Day
Her Money: Ways To Save On Hotels That You Never Knew Existed
TODAY.com: The best deals and freebies for National Cheeseburger Day
Taste of Home: Should You Tip For Takeout?
The Kitchn: I Tried The Vanderpump’s Martini with Everything Bagel Spice
SPY: Blue Light Glasses May Help End Your Squinting and Straining at Screens
Food Network: Burger King Is Sprinkling Everything Bagel Seasoning on Your Favorite Menu Items
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.
I’m gearing up to do a series on holiday travel (yes, we’re almost there!) — and I’m looking for personal finance and travel experts (especially budget travel experts) to weigh in on the following:
How to budget for holiday travel: I mean the holidays are still a few months away, which gives people some time to plan ahead, so I’d experts to weigh in on how to budget ahead for holiday travel, so far as planning a holiday fund, planning a budget, considering ways to streamline expenses (maybe an all-inclusive?). It’s also about how to create a realistic budget for travel -- considering transportation, where you are staying, how long you will be there, how you will get around while you are there, where you'll be eating, what you'll be doing for fun/entertainment.
Related, I’m working on a story that will roundup mistakes to avoid that will blow your holiday travel budget -- so that may be booking too early or too late, not accounting for the extras when planning your budget (we all think about airfare and hotel, but what about gas/tolls/snacks/etc), not getting travel insurance (a MUST these days), not budgeting for food/entertainment, not paying attention to hidden charges, etc - would love experts to weigh in for this as well.
I’m working on something (non-travel related) on holiday spending. Statistically, women spend more on Christmas gifts than men, and I’d love some personal finance experts to weigh on why this is. (Especially if you can reference stats/data). Do moms feel pressure to buy more when they're busy at work? Are women more likely to go into debt after the holidays? And for women who do experience holiday spending stress (raises hand!), how do we prepare? My research actually says NOW is the perfect time to start to prepare for seasonal costs (which is why…well, this is being written now!). Would love experts to weigh in.
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!)
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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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org to get something on my schedule for this fall.
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That’s it for today! Have a great day and I’ll see you same place, same time, tomorrow!
I've been thinking a lot about consistency this week and how important it is to help us move forward. Thank you for this email, good advice as I start the day.
Excellent tips, advice, and insight as always. You're a gem.