If you’ve ever reached out to a generic email address with your press release or content idea, you know that it rarely gets a response. To give yourself the best chance of being published, you need to reach out to an individual person on staff at the publication.
Unfortunately, many editors and journalists do not provide their contact information. Some websites don’t even list individual staff members. Luckily, there are ways to find this information even when it’s not readily available. Here’s how to get in touch with the right person every time.
Know Where Your Story Fits
Before you start your search, you need to decide where your story would fit. Is the Lifestyle section the best choice for your press release on a new mobile app, or is there a more specific section such as Tech News?
Once you’ve decided where to place your content, look for the editor of that particular section. Keep in mind that some publications do not have separate editors for each section. In certain cases, it might be better to pitch a Managing Editor or Senior Editor if that’s the person who handles writer assignments.
How to Find the Right Editor
Depending on the website, you may be able to find an editor on the contact or “about us” page or on the masthead. Sometimes, you need to dig deeper to find a profile page for the editor. This can be time-consuming, but there is a way to streamline the process.
Use Advanced Search Operators to Find the Editor Fast
You can use advanced search operators to find a contact person faster. This post offers a complete guide to search operators, but the site: command is the one you’ll use the most.
A site: command tells the search engine to only give you results from a particular website. For example, if you wanted to find an editor at the Huffington Post, you would type site:huffpost.com into the search engine, followed by a keyword.
Let’s say you’re trying to find the Lifestyle Editor. You would search site:huffpost.com “lifestyle editor” and sift through the results to find the right person.
One caveat is that editors frequently change jobs. Always verify that the individual still works at the publication by typing their name into a search engine or LinkedIn.
How to Find a Journalist
If you’re pitching a news outlet, you will usually reach out to a journalist or reporter who covers the appropriate beat. Spend some time reading the news outlet’s website to familiarize yourself with the different sections.
Find Journalists by Looking for Story Trends
It’s often difficult to find the right journalist to reach out to because some media outlets have general assignment reporters who cover a variety of stories. It can be helpful to search for stories that are similar to your own and see which journalists wrote them.
Using the site: command, search the news website for keywords related to your topic. For example, if you’re trying to pitch a press release about a new assisted living facility, try searching the website for “assisted living.”
You may notice that a particular reporter has covered several stories on the subject. They may prove to be the right person to reach out to for your story.
Using LinkedIn to Find People
Sometimes, you just can’t find the person you’re looking for on the publication’s website. It might be helpful to turn to LinkedIn instead.
This method works best if you also use the intitle: command to further narrow your search. Take the publication name and the job title and search for them both in the title like this:
site:linkedin.com intitle:Huffington Post + lifestyle editor
How to Find an Editor or Journalist’s Email
Once you have the name of the person you want to reach out to, the battle is only half over. Now you have to figure out what their email address is. Here are some ways find contact information for an editor or journalist.
Email Checking Tools
There are free online tools, like MailTester.com, that help you determine whether an email is legitimate. You just need to guess at an email address and type it in. The email checker will test the address and tell you whether it exists. Some websites may set up their email server to block this kind of verification, so it doesn’t always work.
The Publication’s Website
If you can find an editor or journalist’s profile on the publication’s website, it may list a contact email. Alternatively, try finding the contact information for another staff member. It’s likely the editor’s email follows the same format.
An almost foolproof place to look is the Advertising section. Most publications make it easy to get in touch with a sales representative. If you can find just one person’s email address, it may unlock the pattern all other email addresses follow.
Personal Websites and Social Media
If the editor or journalist has a personal website or social media accounts, they might list contact information there. Even if it’s just a personal email, it’s worth sending a pitch.
Check for a Parent Company
Keep in mind that many websites are owned by a larger media company. In this case, the editor’s email may use the parent company’s domain rather than the publication’s domain.
When in Doubt, Guess
If all else fails and you can’t find an email address, try guessing and sending your pitch out. If the email address doesn’t exist, it will just bounce. You can keep trying different formats until one successfully goes through.
Doing digital PR for your business is a complex process, but there are ways to make it easier. Use these tips to find the right person to reach out to every time and get better responses.
Overall, pitching editors and journalists is time-consuming. Consider hiring an experienced digital marketing agency to handle your online PR. An agency can take care of your digital reputation so that you can focus on growing your business.
WTM Digital offers digital PR services to our clients. Learn more about how we grow your online presence and brand awareness through our customized campaigns.