Wednesday: Why we need to stop assuming everyone is Nostradamus, and a bunch of newly published stories!
Happy Hump Day!
Thought for today: We're not mind readers.
I know no one reading this is expecting to encounter Nostradamus this morning, but we should take a second to discuss something.
There's an ongoing trend we encounter all the time at all sides of our industry. So many scenarios: Writers getting frustrated because publicists did not include important credit or availability info (that they did not actually remember to ask for), publicists assuming writers know something about a source's accreditations or experience or a product's specs (that they didn't mention).
And, possibly related: Randomly sending a courier or a perishable delivery to a person’s home, assuming they’ll be there to answer/receive that day/time when they were never informed they were supposed to be, and maybe actually are currently out to dinner, or at an event, or in another country. It’s always best to ask first!
But it happens on the writing side of things all the time too. Writers often get edits on stories where they didn't know what their editor was truly looking for, and it creates more work all around. And editors often get frustrated with writers for assuming certain stats or information was just implied or known and not citing their sources or giving appropriate background. Years ago, I was once tricked into a hike on a press trip because I didn't know something we were doing was a hike, and then I was already there and doing it (in the wrong shoes). They assumed it was implied. I did not read their minds. Turns out this scenario is quite common, too!
No one in this scenario is a mind reader (and if you are, please drop me a line because I could really use some help over there). So, keep in mind when pitching a topic or an expert or a product, or responding to a pitch for the aforementioned, or writing an itinerary, or working on a story, or editing a story that...everyone just has to never assume anyone knows what you are thinking if you don't tell them. This works in the rest of their lives too!
So, today's advice: Always when writing a pitch, or an itinerary, or instructions, or planning a delivery, be very clear and give all the information that anyone could possibly need or want or are presenting. And stick to it. It'll make everyone's life so much easier!
Here’s how to win a FREE virtual consult for your agency
As I mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, this Substack has a fun new holiday promotion. Please share this newsletter with everyone you work with. Every last one! I am going to offer what I think is a powerful incentive: The agency/company/office that has the most new subscriber sign-ups to my Substack between now and Thanksgiving will get a FREE virtual consulting session with me during the month of December. This is something I normally charge for, and is a great deep dive into all sorts of media issues and I’ll do it for one agency for free - if they get the most sign-ups to my Substack in the next month.
And it doesn’t even have to be paid subscribers. I’d LOVE that, of course, but I’m convinced once they hang around here for a bit and see the added value, they’ll want to upgrade anyway - I just want to expand the community here for the betterment of all of us. I can share how best to pitch me, and you can learn a bit from my experience in the process. And, besides, the more people who receive my newsletter, the more awesome pitches I can receive, and the more of your clients I can include - and we ALL win there.
This is the holiday season, you are pitching about gifting, I’m writing about gifting, but let’s remember that at the core, it’s really about being generous with one another. Let me be generous with you.
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!
TODAY.com: Celebrate National Chocolate Day with these sweet deals and freebies
Yahoo.com: What is mincemeat? This sweet holiday dessert is different than it sounds — here's how to make it.
The Kitchn: Bean Box Just Brought Back Its Sold-Out Coffee Advent Calendar for Another Year
The Kitchn: Ina Garten’s Latest Episode of “Be My Guest” Featured Emily Blunt — And Yes, They Talked About *Those* Potatoes
Clean Plates: 11 Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving Staples Nutritionists Love
HerMoney: The Best Free Or Low-Cost Sleep Apps
HerMoney: How To Do Friendsgiving On A Budget
Taste of Home: Chick-fil-A Salad Dressings Are Coming to Select Stores in Spring 2023
Taste of Home: Disneyland Just Leaked the Menu for Its Holiday Food Festival and It Looks So Good
The Kitchn: Beyond Meat Is Rolling Out a New Steak Option, So Dinnertime Just Got a Bit Tastier
The Kitchn: 15 Last-Minute Food Costumes for the Entire Family
The Kitchn: These Mini Oreo Pancakes Are So Good, You’ll Want to Make Them Time and Time Again
Clean Plates: 5 DIY Face Masks You Can Make With Food
SPY.com: Dear Procrastinators: These Are the Best Places to Buy Gift Cards Online
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.
Have restaurant chain food deals in store for Veterans Day? Email me!
Business Class Deals Abound For 2022, Here's How To Snag Them - Business travel is still not back to where it once was. That means it’s still easier to score premium seats for the rest of us - and thus, a rise in business class deals. I’d love to chat with experts about how to score them (since business class is usually not an option for most of us!).
I’m rounding up the best apps to help you stick to a budget - please pitch me your budgeting apps! (And open to commentary from personal finance experts as to the budgeting apps THEY love, too!)
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).
Products That Will Actually Make You Excited to Workout: Believe it or not, some people actually DO get excited about workouts!
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.
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!)
have a great day <3
Valuable feedback about making all kinds of assumptions. Thanks for the taking the time to share your wisdom!