Tuesday Edition: Upcoming travel, maintaining focus, and my latest published stories
Last night, I started to watch Netflix's The Most Hated Man On The Internet. I feel like in the last year or so, we've been inundated with scammer-tainment and true crime type content, but this may be the most disturbing of them all.
What I really appreciate about series like this is that it's not just about the person perpetuating the con, but breaks down the psyche behind it. It's all terrifying and fascinating at the same time - and absolutely worth a watch, especially if stuff like online privacy issues are the kind of thing that sometimes keeps you up at night.
I'll be in Las Vegas from August 11-15. I'm there on a media trip to cover the opening night of a new celebrity restaurant at a property there, but I SHOULD have a bit of free time at some pointto meet some local friends for coffee or a drink.
I'm thinking of potentially going old-school and doing the kind of meetups I used to do. Back in the day when I'd visit a city where I knew a lot of people, say, LA or Nashville, I'd pop myself into a bar or cafe and just tell anyone that wanted to see me to come find me there in the next hour or two. It's a great way to maximize the faces you can see when you are on a work trip and have very limited free time. (I've recommended this to friends over the years, and all have had great success with it!). So, if the itinerary allows, I'll post about where/when said meetup will be, if I can make it work. There's so many faces I haven't seen off email in such a long time, and It's about darn time I make it my business to make up for it.
I also MIGHT be in Toronto in late August for a few days -- my first time there! (I've been to Montreal many times, but never Toronto) - so will keep you all posted regarding updates on that as well.
For today's tip, I thought we could chat a bit about maintaining our focus.
Focus is of course the secret to productivity. But are we as focused as we could or should be?
If you find your mind wandering a lot while you work, or you are not making yourself tune out distractions (this would be you if you are doom scrolling or texting all day during the work day while on deadline), or you have lost track of any progress in the project you are working on.
The best way to regain that focus is to eliminate those time-sucking distractions. For me, it works to treat focus as if it was a spotlight at a concert. I want to shine that spotlight on one specific task at a time, and make sure it gets all the light it needs so I can see it so clearly. Give it your full attention.
It's so important to be present in whatever you are doing. But so many of us aren't. I have dozens of photos through the years of myself at dinners or events or on trips doing things I am nostalgic about now, but then, I was so busy staring at my phone texting about what I was doing, or posting on social media about what I was doing, that it took away from JUST DOING IT and living in the moment.
So, if you want to achieve better focus, block out the distractions, embrace mindfulness, and keep at it until you can check it off your list and move to the next thing. (And yes, between things you can totally check your messages. That's your short reboot break - we all need that! But make that deadline first.)
Newly published …
The Kitchn: According to Hershey, Those Candy Shortage Rumors Have Been Over-Exaggerated
TODAY.com: Where to get free cookies on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
Forbes: 25 Perfect Cocktails To Enjoy On National Spritz Day
The Kitchn: The New Cinnamon Toast Crunch Snack Has an Exciting Twist
YourTango: 6 Brave Couples Reveal The Most Honest Thing They've Told Each Other
Clean Plates: The Best Trader Joe’s Items for Easy, Healthy Summer Entertaining According to Dietitians
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.
For HerMoney, I'm writing a story rounding up ways that you can travel for free this year - yes, free. Like work exchanges, volunteering, house sitting, pet sitting, house swapping, etc. If you are a travel expert who can offer some commentary, I'd love it if you reach out!
What's the deal with sprouted potatoes? - I'm doing a story on sprouted potatoes for Southern Living, and I'd love to know more about them. Are they safe to eat? Why do they sprout? What's the ideal way to remove the sprouts? What's the best way to store them? How do you know when it's time to just toss the potatoes altogether? Obviously, I know the answers to a lot of these questions, but I'd love a chef or food safety expert to weigh in.
I'm looking for nutritionists and RDs to share their go-to takeout order and why it's the best way to go in terms of nutritional value, well-balanced meals, being satisfied but not over-stuffed, and so forth. Obviously not specific restaurants, of course. but more like "if getting Chinese takeout, get this..." "if getting Indian takeout, get this..." and so forth. It’s fine to say “I order this but sub out this aspect for this aspect, or get it without the sauce or whatever.” Please reach out if you have someone who can comment!
For Forbes, I’m rounding up the celebrity chef restaurants that opened in the last year or so or are opening later in 2022 that are especially exciting. If you have any that might be a fit, please email me. I’ll need info about the restaurant, and some images I can use, and would LOVE if I could get a quote or two from the chef/owner. This is not a full-length feature on any restaurant but more of a roundup/list. (Though if any sound especially great I can consider for a more focused story down the line!)
I have a few weeks to play with these two, but that's because I need to compile a whole lot of info for these...
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!
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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 (I even recently 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 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!)
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