Wednesday: Some frequently asked questions, answered -- and also lots of newly published stories and open opps!
Watch me on Instagram tonight. I'm going to show you how to make a turkey breast in the air fryer.
Yesterday was an insanely busy day and today I have woken up wanting to get an IV of coffee. (Why isn't that a thing yet? This is not the future we were promised.)
But as you'll see from the newly published links below, I wrote and published five new stories yesterday. In one day. And ...wow...are my arms (fingers? hands?) tired.
Anyway, enough cheesy jokes (though I could go on for hours discussing my feelings on Olivia Wilde's salad dressing, and have been in text threads with my friends for days), I thought it would be helpful to today touch upon some frequently asked questions and misconceptions about the open story opportunities I share each day.
1 - "I saw this opp drop off your newsletter the other day, but pitching it anyway..."
I try to make the open story opportunities section read sort of like a farmers market. This is what we have in stock today! Anything you see posted in today's newsletter is a story that I'm still working on, as of the point that I send this newsletter today. It may be gone by tomorrow’s edition though! If you no longer see an open story listed, that means I'm no longer working on it. Now, once I submit a story, it may be published in an hour - or not for weeks. That's out of my control in most cases. But if you no longer see it as pending, it's no longer something to pitch.
2 - "I saw you were working on this a few weeks ago, so is it too late to pitch now?"
Nope, again. If it's listed under open stories I'm working on. It's still something I'm working on. But if it's not...it's over. Sorry!
3 - Deadlines...why are there sometimes no deadlines posted?
There's a reason for this, actually. If something is super ASAP (like those stories I write and publish in a few hours), I'll let you know that. But I've discovered if I share a deadline in some longer lead stories (and in my world longer lead means I have like...a week...haha...to play with), people will wait till the last hour of the last day to submit. But the reality is: If I'm working on a roundup of cool storage containers and I find everything I need in the first day. Or if I need nutritionist commentary and I get everything I need on the first day...I'm not going to wait till the last hour of the last day to file that story. So consider IN ALL cases, your best bet of being included is to submit as soon as possible -- my not posting the deadline is encouraging you to do that and not be limited by thinking you have time on your side.
4 - How long will those open opps be posted?
Well, it depends. You’ll see right now there’s something like a dozen open opportunities for about a half dozen outlets. Most of those stories I will be working on through this week and into early next week. But there’s times you see a story posted one day that is already gone by the next day. And sometimes stories that stick around a few weeks. Your best bet always — keep in mind that the early bird does get the worm.
And remember…once the story is published, the opportunity has passed. It is now too late to include anything if it’s already out in the world living its best life!
Hope that's helpful!
In other news, I made an arrabiata shrimp (or fra diavolo, I honestly am not 100% sure on the difference, so please educate me!) last night and it came out delish - the recipe is right now on my Instagram stories.
And tonight - I'm going to show you how to make a turkey breast in your air fryer - you can have an oven-free Thanksgiving!
So, stay tuned...
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!
Southern Living: Air Fryer Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
HelloGiggles: 13 Peacock Green Clothes and Accessories for Fall
RetailMeNot: 16 Fruitcakes We’re Absolutely Nutty For (2022)
Southern Living: Can You Safely Eat Sprouted Potatoes?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org - 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.
Best Home Organizational Products to Set Up Your New Year Right -- To pitch me for this one, please be sure to include product name, details, specs, cost, and retailer link(s).
Best holiday popcorn tins: To pitch me for this one, please be sure to include product name, details, specs, cost, and retailer link(s).
Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving Staples Nutritionists Love: I’m looking for RDs and nutritionists to weigh in on their favorite Trader Joe’s items to stock up on for Thanksgiving and why - how they use them, why they are good choices, etc. This is a rush one so please reach out ASAP if you have someone who can comment.
Trader Joe’s Frozen Appetizers Perfect For Holiday Parties: Same concept as above, but frozen appetizers for holiday parties.
Products That Will Actually Make You Excited to Workout: Believe it or not, some people actually DO get excited about workouts!
Last-Minute Food Costumes for the Entire Family: I'm looking for costumes that can be purchased on Amazon Prime or can be DIY, and I'm open to kids, teens, and adults, and they can be a mixture of single costumes and those that already come in pairs. When pitching me, please include the name of the costume (Like "PB&J"), link to the costume, and a short description.
I am working on rounding up deals and freebies for Halloween. I might also be working on one for National Chocolate Day, depending on the response I ge.
If you have anything to pitch, please make sure it's a deal at a chain, it's something tangible (not free delivery or rewards points but an actual freebie or discount, say, free donut with any coffee, or whatever), and how please tell me how people claim the deal (Rewards app? QR code? Code word? Let me know!)
As promised, I have my first (of more to come...) batch of Forbes holiday gift guides. The topics I am working on in this batch are:
The Best Culinary Gifts For Fans Of The Royal Family: Whether these are items that hold a royal warrant, are those that we know members of the royal family are fans of, or have another royal connection - for example, a wine poured at a royal wedding - I'm interested. This is NOT specifically limited to the BRF either, I'm interested in culinary gifts for fans of all royal families.
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.
The Best Gear For A Starter Kitchen: Think starter appliances, multi-taskers, appliances, utensils, etc, that are good for small spaces.
For any of these, this is how I need to be pitched --
1 - Please start a NEW email, and make clear in the subject line which one you are pitching. Email that email to email@example.com
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.
I’m working on: Do you keep your butter in the in the fridge, or not? The world is split between whether butter should be kept out, stored in a cabinet (keeping it soft), or in the fridge. I’d love to talk to die-hard "butter goes in the cabinet" people and die-hard "no way keep it in the fridge" people. Why do they think what they think? If they have a partner, does their partner disagree? (I am team fridge BTW, but I know some chefs who are team counter!) And then, I’d like to talk to a food safety expert. Is butter OK left out at room temp? How should people preserve the safety of their butter?
Another story for Yahoo - How to make a Thanksgiving sheet pan meal. (I got a bunch of responses yesterday offering me one-pot or one-pan meals, I want SPECIFICALLY sheet pan for this one.) And also, how to turn leftovers into a sheet pan meal the next day? Not sure if that's a thing! I’d love to get chefs to weigh in on input, commentary, and also would love if someone is willing to share an easy for home cooks to follow recipe for a Thanksgiving-themed sheet pan meal (with images).
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.
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have a great day <3