Finding emails for your media list – detective style 🕵️
Whether you’re searching for a journalist’s email address for your own media coverage, or you’re also a writer and are looking to pitch to an editor, there are two main initial points that are rather important. One: you need to find relevant journos that could be interested in what you have to say, and two: you need to find their email address so you can actually get in touch with them. (FYI, these days, the best way to contact a journalist is via email. Not all are open to DMs, and in a work scenario, an inbox is more likely to be checked regularly.)
Of course, you have to make sure that your story is timely, newsworthy, relevant to the journo you’re contacting, and generally worth writing about. This means you need to be well-versed in the art of producing a compelling media pitch – whether you’re the writer or the subject. But since you’re on the searching-for-the-email-address-on-the-internet part of the journey, we presume you already know this part, and have smashed it already. (Well done.) If not, we’ve provided a rough guide email template further on. (You’re welcome.)
However, most news sites usually make it pretty difficult for anyone to find their writer’s contact info (if it were easy, editors would be bombarded with more pitches, rants, and spam than they already are), which means it’s often a case of playing internet detectives. So if you’ve got a one-of-a-kind idea that you *need* to put in front of a journo but you don’t know where to start, we’ve curated the ultimate ‘how to find a journalist’s email address’ guide.
Here we go..
Check the top and bottom of the article page
So you’ve found a journalist who writes great articles, and you think they’d be interested in your ideas. The first (and most obvious) thing to do is to check the top and bottom of the article page, making sure you look out for italics. Sometimes the emails or the writers are mentioned in these areas – especially those who are freelance/contributors. If the journo you’re looking for has their email address right there in plain sight, congratulations – you can go ahead and pitch that amazing idea you have. If not, the search isn’t quite over…
Do a quick Google search
An early and quick trick that can either provide what you’re looking for straight away or nothing at all. But oddly, not many people think to look this way. Simply type in the journalist’s name, who they write for, and “email address”, and see what comes up in the search results.
Sometimes you’ll see the address straight away, and other times, you’ll have to sift through everything that Google provides you. If it’s the latter, you may find an address in an unexpected place. For example, a Twitter thread where a journo has put a pitch callout along with their email, or a journalist commenting it on a blog when asking someone to get in touch with them.
Either way, you might strike lucky.
Does the journo have a bio page on the publication’s site?
Next stop – if the journalist you’re trying to reach out to has regular articles published on a specific site, or you know that they’re an in-house member of staff, head to the publication website and see if they have a bio page. You’ll usually be able to find these by clicking on an article by the said writer, and either scrolling down to the button for their name or noticing it right at the top. The name is usually a clickable link that will take you to a page solely dedicated to content written by then.
Typically, the writer also has a short bio there and often links to their social media accounts or personal websites. Both are leads, as they (obvs) lead you one step closer to the email@example.com.
Find their socials
OK, so whether the previous worked and you found their socials nice n easy, or you need to head straight to Google and type “their name Twitter” or “Instagram”, finding these accounts is a crucial step in the journey.
The majority of established and respected journalists use Twitter especially as an online space to share their work, and many of them have their email addresses sitting right there in their bio. If their bio also says “Open to DMs”, (which, as we mentioned before, sadly, not all of them do), you’ve hit the double-whammy jackpot. We suggest sending your pitch email first and sending a little DM follow-up, introducing yourself and subtly letting them know you’ve dropped them an email and you’d love for them to check it out.
But we digress in the most helpful way possible… If this part hasn’t worked out for you yet, here’s what we suggest next.
Investigate other social media
Not on Twitter? Or they are but haven’t included their address in the bio? Time for some more social media stalking. LinkedIn and Google+ are typically good professional resources, and can often be the home to a journalist’s contact details provided their account isn’t set to private.
Is there an email pattern?
Most media companies have an email address pattern, which means all the employees have the same one. For example, many structure them like firstname.lastname@example.org/uk, or without the full stop in the first half. If you find another writer’s email from the same publication, use the same pattern but with the name of the journalist you’re trying to contact. This usually works.
To double check, you can always do a quick Google search of the email in quotes (“email@example.com/uk”), and the results will show you if there’s ever been a mention of it online. If it’s a real address, chances are, you’ll find something.
You’ll also be able to tell if an address doesn’t exist because it will bounce back to your inbox after you send the email. If it does, just use your common sense and try different variations of the email. Sometimes it just takes a few trial and error sessions.
Use a media database
A media database is an online directory that houses various national and international media contacts that you can filter by location, industry, etc. They’re also not just limited to journalists – you can find other professionals, like PRs, bloggers, and digital influencers, too. Basically, the people that can bring your story to life.
There are some good directories out there, including Prowly, Gorkana, PR Max, and Hunter (a Google Chrome extension that lets you find email addresses anywhere on the web) to name a few. All you need to do is conduct a quick search and they’ll give you a list of thousands of reporters, journalists, and media outlets, as well as their contact details.
Some of the more advanced databases will let you search for contacts by using keywords from the writer’s tweets or articles. This provides you with the most relevant results and shows you what the journo you’re looking for has recently written about.
Once you’ve got a preliminary list, you can then delve deeper by heading to Twitter or Google to find out any extra pieces of information about the journalists you’ve found. For example:
- What are they interested in?
- What topics or subjects are they currently writing about?
- Are they looking for stories like yours?
Prowly, for instance, gives you the chance to access over one million contacts in their database as well as use smart recommendations based on the contents of your press releases. This way, you’ll be able to filter out reporters and find the ones who will most likely be interested in your story or pitch.
Use Google News
You’ve checked regular Google but to no avail? What about Google News? This is another tried and tested way of finding media outlets that will then lead you to appropriate journos within your niche. Especially if you’re looking for coverage for your product, service or brand.
Type the names of other businesses or competitors similar to yours in the search bar. You’ll be greeted with a list of outlets, news sites, blogs, etc. where they have previously been featured, and places where your story will probably be a perfect match.
Write down these publications and any editors and journalists you find, as well as any other useful information that might help you.
Make use of backlink checkers and other SEO tools
Want to go one step further and take on a more advanced version of the previous tip? Try using backlink checkers like Semrush to find out which websites are linking to whatever website you type into the SEO backlink tool. We’ve written quite a few blogs on backlinks and how important they are, so it’s worth giving this method a try.
Once you’ve entered the websites, you may find publications that house articles written by valuable and relevant journalists that are covering/have covered your topic.
Get on the phone
This one only really works if you know who the reporter you’re looking for works for (providing they’re not freelance), or you want to find journos who work for the publication because you think your story would be suited it. But you might as well give it a try if the above is you.
At the very least, there should be a general contact email or a phone number for the outlet somewhere on the website. It’s usually at the bottom, or on the ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact’ page if they have one. You can always try the old-fashioned way by picking up the phone (and if you can get through), asking for the person you’re trying to reach and letting them know why.
Don’t give up!
The internet’s a big place and depending on how niche your subject is, or how well-known the journalist is, finding an email address can either be a two-minute job or a two-day job. If it’s the latter, don’t give up. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find the contact details you’re looking for, even if you have to sift through pages and pages of Google results or hours’ worth of Twitter threads.
And if you’re dedicated to your cause (which we’re presuming you are, otherwise you wouldn’t have made it to the end of this article), your hard work will most likely be rewarded with the coverage you were looking for.