Wednesday Edition: Reuniting with old friends, the SWEETEST job lead, and everything I'm working on this week
Louisville: I'll see you tomorrow!
Happy Hump Day!
I had the best time last night.
My gal Amber invited me to be her guest at a fun wellness-related press dinner. Many (....many!), years ago when I first started working as a freelance writer, I was predominately in the beauty and wellness space and Amber was my very first friend. We actually met at a beauty brand's dinner! I segued to be more of a food and travel writer a few years back but I still have so many friends in that space, and last night felt like something of a family reunion and it was SO good to see everyone again.
Something to keep in mind when you plan your next press dinner: It may possibly be the breeding ground for a lifelong friendship. Or maybe, it'll be the spot where friends who have lost touch can finally reconnect. Either way, it will be wonderful!
Trying to get some odds and ends settled today assignment-wise, as I head to Louisville early tomorrow morning. I have such a fun schedule planned, including a few activities I've never done before. (Which of course is the best kind of work travel!)
Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of pets in America’s shelters by 2025, is hiring a Public Relations Strategist (remote). This role develops, supports, and executes a wide variety of PR activities, with an emphasis in media relations, campaign and message development. The salary range is between $80-90k.
Best Friends recently received a 2022 Top Workplaces USA award from Energage. We offer competitive pay, medical, dental, vision, basic and supplemental life insurance, short and long-term disability, dependent care reimbursement, pet sitting reimbursement when traveling for work, flexible spending account, health savings account, generous paid time off, paid holidays, auto insurance discount, and legal and identify theft coverage. For added wellbeing support, we offer Pawternity Leave for employees to have time to care for their personal pets, mental health support, and an employee assistance program. They also offer a generous 401k savings plan.
Get a special group rate
I’m now offering a 50% discount on paid subscriptions when purchased as part of a group subscription (that’s four or more people). It’s a great way to get your team involved and save some cash.
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!
Her Money: How To Get Free Stuff At The Airport
The Kitchn: New Halloween Cups from Starbucks Are Here
Taste of Home: Why Is Some Cheddar Cheese Orange?
RetailMeNot: 7 Ways To Save More on DoorDash
RetailMeNot: How to Shop at Aldi: A Guide for First-Timers
RetailMeNot: 10 Ways to Save More on Uber Eats
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.
Fruit Cakes We're Absolutely Nutty For - I'm actually updating a story I wrote last year. If you represent any great fruitcakes sold online that are shippable in time for the holidays (or just have a favorite I should know about), please let me know! And if you represent any of the ones already included, and there's updated information I should have (pricing, availability, ingredients, what have you, please contact me as well.)
1. How to Secure an Upgrade on Your Hotel Room -- looking for travel experts to weigh in. Specifically looking for to include ideas, hacks, tips "that you didn't know" or "that you've never tried" etc.
2. To Book or Not to Book?: Does Timing for Hotel Bookings Really Matter? Would be curious to know if time of day and day of week matter in terms of when you make the reservation (I've heard Tuesday mornings are good, but maybe that's BS??) and then also curious how far in advance is too far in advance? Would love experts to weigh in on this.
3. How to do a Friendsgiving on a budget. Would love entertaining experts to weigh in!
National Taco Day is a few weeks away and I’m looking for fun, unique, inventive tacos. If your restaurant has something really cool and interesting and delicious, please send me the following: Name of dish, where sold, description, quote from chef about the dish, and a high res image.
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!)
Share the love
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.
Please share this newsletter with a friend or colleague today. Every Friday, I randomly choose one new free subscriber who signed on that week. They will be automatically upgraded to a paid subscription for free — and, if they tell me who referred them to this Substack, that person will as well! These opportunities only get better if we share them with our friends.
Paid subscriptions get additional benefits, such as my weekly industry insights newsletters, subscriber Zoom chats, and much more.
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.
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!)
That’s it for today! Have a great day and I’ll see you same place, same time, tomorrow!