Tuesday: How I prioritize tasks on my busy agenda. Also: So many new stories in the works!
Please go out and vote today!
First and foremost, today is Election Day. It’s so incredibly important that you go out and take the time to vote. I voted early, last week, and I was in and out in 5 minutes. It legit takes less time than going for a coffee.
This election couldn’t be more consequential.
Today is a BUSY day. I’m absolutely swamped with new assignments and I also am participating in a cooking zoom later today (I know those were quite the jam in 2020, but no, I’m not tired of them yet. They are still so fun!).
This is the busiest time of the year for many. journalists. In fact, I have an accountant friend who is in town visiting right now, and I joked to her that for my field, HGG season is to us, what tax season is to her. I’m sure she thought I was heavily exaggerating - but honestly, it’s pretty accurate an assessment, I think.
(Related: I wrote a guest post for Duree & Company’s blog on everything to keep in mind when pitching gift guides. Please keep it handy when pitching me, or anyone else, this season. Hope it’s helpful!)
As so many of us are SO busy and have so many things we are juggling at once, I thought maybe today we can revisit some tips for being productive when you have many different projects pending all at once for various clients. This could be true from a journalism perspective, a PR perspective, or honestly, in ANY field.
For me, setting priorities is of paramount importance. You may see I have, at any given time, a dozen assignments pending for as many as 10 outlets. This is in addition to consulting, events, trips, and so forth. But not every assignment is going to have the same level of urgency. Perhaps one requires more research, a greater span of expert interviews, a tighter deadline. It’s so helpful to establish a list of priorities based on these considerations. Some people may want to knock out the easiest/quickest assignments first in order to shorten the load. I get that! But others may discover that getting the big one, the one most weighing on our minds, out of the way first, is the easiest way to go.
I find, for me, taking control of that to-do list, an agenda of tasks (if you will), restores my motivation and momentum because it gives me a sense of control and allows me to feel like I’m the one behind the wheel of the car. Rather than feeling astray, on a runaway train. You know, going the wrong one on a one-way track.
Sometimes getting through those big and overwhelming parts of your agenda is about breaking those tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Set a time and parameter to accomplish each and build that into your day’s agenda. Perhaps you won’t finish the big task today, but you will make tangible headway.
By challenging yourself with specific steps and tasks and deliverables, and giving a time limit therein for each, you will be able to measure how efficient you are, and that actually helps you to improve on that efficiency — but also make more accurate predictions about how long you need to complete a task and a project going forward. It’ll help you manage your time better, and that will help you make better use of your time.
My November Friendsgiving Specials
1 - I've partnered up with my dear friend Lisa Richards at RPZL for a really exciting Friendsgiving promotion. For the ENTIRE month of November, any subscriber (free OR paid) of both mine and Amber's substacks will be able to get a $25 blowout at RPZL (at the legendary Plaza Hotel in NYC!) with code FRIENDSGIVING25. These are not only my dear friends, but also -- it's just a really incredible blowout. In fact, RPZL is the first monogamous hair relationship this head of hair has ever had, and I am sure once you have your STEAL of a deal $25 blowout, you'll feel the same and be addicted!
2 - To keep the spirit of Friendsgiving going, for the entire month of November I'm going to offer a steal of a deal of my own - 50% off an annual paid subscription. These annual subscriptions give you a variety of added value, from my weekly Industry Insights weekend newsletters to monthly virtual AMA sessions (and more!). You can upgrade your subscription beginning today at this special rate.
Newly published or freshly updated
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: The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Frozen Chicken Nuggets
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.
Eat This, Not That
In a story that is incredibly on brand for me, I’m working on a roundup of Thanksgiving Side Dishes You Can Make With an Air Fryer - I’d love to include some recipes I can link to online. If you rep a chef or food writer or food blogger who has a recipe of such online, please email me and include a link to the recipe. In addition to explaining what's in each dish, also talk to me about the nutritional value, the convenience factor, the speed at which it cooks, how it tastes differently/better compared to cooking it in a conventional oven or on the stove, etc.
I'm working on SEVERAL stories for Her Money now pegged for the holiday season --
A gift roundup for Small Business Saturday, with a focus on female-owned small businesses you can support - if you have anything to pitch, please follow the general pitching guidelines I always mention for HGGs and be sure to include all the necessary information.
Budgeting for Black Friday - there's a lot of places around trying to sell you products and tell you about their deals, but I'd love some expert tips for navigating the frenzied activity and making the smartest decisions for you and your budget. Save time, save money, save effort, and what to shop and what not to shop (am NOT looking for specific products for this one, this is not an ecommerce story)
I’m working on this HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Gift ideas for your friend who has serious wanderlust. Send me your pitches!
GIFT GUIDE: Products That Will Actually Make You Excited to Workout.
Celebrity chefs share their #1 tip for saving time on Thanksgiving meal prep. I’m looking for chefs to weigh in on their top tip on saving time and effort on prepping the biggest dinner of the year. I’m looking for big chefs for this one (like those who we may see on Food Network, etc). Please email me if you have anyone!
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.
A reminder: This is how I need to be pitched for gift guides --
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.
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!
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.
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!)
have a great day <3