Discover more from Aly Walansky's Newsletter
Wednesday: A quick explainer on Uber vouchers and why they are so helpful.
Also: All my latest published stories!
There’s a lot I want to touch on today, and I have a bunch of newly published stories to share, too — so, buckle up, this may be a long one…
Last night, Koi hosted my gal Amber (totally subscribe to her Substack BTW, it’s at the top of my must-read list!) and I for a really fun tasting dinner. The funny thing is, just a few days before, we had been chatting about how we hadn’t been there in years, and then an invite popped into my inbox — almost like we manifested our destiny and the gods of crispy rice and lychee martinis were listening.
Personally, I feel like I’m very overdue for writing some roundups of my favorite crispy rice and lychee martinis in NYC, and this tasting dinner we did may have been just the inspiration I needed!
In other news, I had a few new stories publish since yesterday’s email!
But wait…there’s more! (Said in a Steve Jobs voice…) - scroll to the newly published section below to see all my freshest links!
OK, so about those Uber Vouchers….
A few days ago, someone sent me an event invite and I responded asking a few questions, according if Uber vouchers were available/possible. This is something I ask often and is often a major deciding factor if I am on the fence about being able to attend an event or dinner. (It’s not a diva thing, I have a significant commute, have avoided the subway for the last few years, and Uber rides can be prohibitively expensive as they add up.)
The reason I’m sharing this story isn’t the question or her answer — she was actually very receptive, people usually are — but more that she was not familiar with Uber codes/vouchers as a concept and that is why they weren’t initially offered.
So, I figured maybe it would be a good idea to spend a few minutes chatting about them here, and why they are SO helpful and so important.
Many years ago, when I first started to attend events (we’re going back DECADES, you guys), rideshare apps did not even exist yet. You knew you were going to a good event when they would tell you in the email they were arranging car service and asked for your pickup/drop off address.
I’m sure those private cars were super pricey and so the transition to Uber/Lyft codes and vouchers over the past years has made a lot of sense. It also makes a lot of sense from our end as well — we aren’t tied to a pickup/drop off time, no one has to have a driver waiting around for someone, and we can go to that event or dinner from anywhere or to anywhere. It makes hopping about a lot easier.
For example, I have two events tonight. Both have Uber codes, and it’s a lot easier to coordinate going to, between, and home from them.
Uber vouchers are an amazing asset for events because it allows you as the publicist/brand/agency to set all the necessary parameters and restrictions. You get to decide the credit amount, location restrictions, time frame, expiration, etc. Lets say I am going to a press dinner tonight at 123 Spicy Tuna Highway.
The Uber voucher would be set up that it would cover a ride to/from that address during a time frame of and around the event. It may have certain parameters, say, up to $50 each way. That would depend on your budget. Or, it could just be “covers entire ride” — whatever that is. Obviously someone coming from a mile away will use less of a credit than someone coming from 10 miles away.
Once you set up a Uber code/voucher, you send that code to the people you are inviting, and they put the code in their app. They then use it to book their own ride the night of the event. (BTW, these vouchers can also be used for meals, which is a very useful asset if you are hosting a virtual event and want to make it a luncheon set up!).
It’s great because - if someone ends up cancelling and not using the voucher, you aren’t charged. If they use only part of the voucher limits, you are only charged for that they use. (It’s better for you, say, than sending a $100 Uber gift card and having someone only need half of of it.)
So, why should you have these vouchers/codes for your events? Glad you asked.
It’ll increase the chance of people showing up - and showing up at the right place at the right time.
It’ll get people home safely. You don’t want to be hosting a whiskey tasting and then have someone hobbling their way home, or worse, driving themselves.
It’s considerate. A person doesn’t have to budget in their own ride, worry about finding parking, or take a subway if it’s feeling unsafe or inconvenient. That makes people more eager to attend!
It has so many potential uses. For events and dinners, too, but it’s also a really convenient way of streamlining ground transfers for your next press trip! Just set up Uber codes and you don’t have to worry about having a car and driver waiting at the airport.
I’ll be honest - there’s been many times that having a ride was a deciding factor for me when it came to events. And I’m pretty certain many others feel the same way. It’s a small and relatively minor way to make a big difference in your event attendance and participation!
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!
In case you missed it, I was recently a guest on a podcast. Check it out here — I share some easy-to-follow tips on how emerging brands can get the attention of busy editors.
Speaking of podcasts, I was a guest on the Pitchin’ and Sippin’ podcast last month (I ADORE Lexie Smith!), and you can still catch it here. We chatted at length about pitching, the ever-changing landscape of the editorial process, and more.
(Also, if you host a podcast that has anything to do with media/PR/writer content or food/bev/travel content and are interested in me coming on as a guest, I’d love if you reach out!)
HerMoney: The Top Ways To Travel For Free in 2023
YourTango: 12 Ways To Shrink Your Pores — Fast
Taste of Home: This Butter Hack Is Going Viral and You Need to Try It
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.
Here’s what I’m working on:
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.
TikTok Made Me Buy It - Sketchy challenges aside, this social media site is known as a go-to spot for trendy attire and accessories, beauty products, sports gear, you name it. I am looking to round up 10-20 low-cost/cheap items popularized on TikTok and popular with women.
I’m beginning to round up Cinco de Mayo food deals at chain restaurants. I’m not looking for free delivery or reward point type of deals at this time but more BOGOs, freebies, discounts, etc. Please be sure to tell me how to claim the deal (i.e. coupon code, downloading app, etc) when responding.
For Forbes, with Purim around the corner, I’m looking for fun Purim-themed desserts, treats, and cocktails. This can be inventive spins on hamantaschen, or anything else brewing. Please use the same format as the story above when pitching!
Looking forward, I’ll be working on a story on great wines, snacks, and products to buy for Passover 2023. It is IMPERATIVE for this story that everything I include be certified as kosher for Passover (not just kosher - it’s a distinct certification). Please be sure to confirm before pitching.
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!)
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 (Recently 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!
Have a great day!