The Often-Overlooked, Ridiculously Obvious Way to Find a Journalist’s Email Address
Have you ever found *exactly* the right journalist or influencer – someone you’re dying to tell about your brand – but you can’t for the life of you find a reliable email address to use when reaching out?
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While most bloggers and influencers with online personas should be relatively easy to contact (after all, their business depends on connecting with others), many members of the media and especially staffers at national media outlets with large audiences make their email addresses intentionally difficult to find. Doing so cuts down on everything from unwanted inbound emails from public relations pros to those spammy, annoying emails that end up in the inboxes of anyone who makes her real email address easily findable.
As a longtime journalist, I’ve never been a fan of purposely making myself hard to find. I can’t tell you how many cool people and stories I’ve discovered purely by being open to what other people had to say. But that’s just me. There are many writers and reporters who argue, hey, if I don’t know who you are and want to reach out to you directly already, then you’re not right for the stories I’m working on.
When you’re reaching out to let people know about your news, your business or your story, you’re going to want to prioritize, first and foremost, reaching out to media who are already interested in subjects that you and your brand align with. More simply put: it’s really a waste of time to knock on the door of a lot of people who really have no interest in what you’re promoting. And it’s totally okay that there will be a lot of members of the media who have absolutely no interest in you, your brand or your story. Why? Because there are a lot of media who will want to hear about what you’re up to, provided you take care to target the right ones and reach out with a thoughtful email that shows you know who she is, what she covers and how your story can be a good fit for her publication.
Not surprisingly, one of the first things I advise PressDope members and Strategy Session clients to do is begin building a media target lists – a list of media members, journalists, bloggers and influencers that are a good fit for their brands and may be interested in featuring you in the future.
Oftentimes, a major stumbling block in media target list building is not knowing who you’d like to contact, but finding a working and reliable email address to use. At PressDope, we only use publicly available email addresses in the lists we build for clients, and I encourage you to do the same. If a journalist hasn’t posted her email address in a public place, then the next best thing you can do is connect directly and work to establish a relationship so that you can reach out in the future when you have news to share. But how to do that if you don’t already have an email address on hand to use for the initial outreach?
You can certainly work your connections in hopes of getting an introduction or try using the larger media organization’s standard email format. But it’s altogether common to find direct emails posted publicly online – if you know where to look.
Read on for the 5 most popular places to find journalists’ publicly available email addresses, plus one hack for getting in touch with hard-to-reach writers, authors and freelancers and establishing a connection that lasts.
Always check social media bios
Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn bios are goldmines for publicly available email addresses. Check these first when you want to reach out and aren’t sure how to make contact. If you don’t see what you’re looking for right away, read the expanded versions of their profiles. For example, many journalists include their direct contact information in the expanded “About” section on LinkedIn or on Facebook.
Look at their online bio in the publication itself
Many online magazines and publications today include a short bio for writers and contributors. For some, it’s standard to feature their staff’s contact emails, while others leave it up to the individual writer or contributor to include it if she wants to.
Mouse over the person’s name on a website
In a lot of instances, an email address will appear in the bottom left side of your browser window when you roll your mouse over the writer’s name or byline. This can happen both on the site of the publication the person is writing for, as well as a personal web site used for portfolio purposes.
Listed on a freelancer or portfolio site
If you don’t find anything available in the publication they write for or on its web site, you can search for the person’s personal website. Most freelancers have one that doubles as an online portfolio. Many writers and contributors to online publications today have their own blogs, web sites and businesses that you can track down just by Googling them. Always be respectful when reaching out to an address listed on a personal web site or blog. If they’ve written, “only use this email for blog-related inquiries,” you’re going to want to follow that direction.
There’s an app for that
Of course there is. If you’re sleuthing for an address and aren’t sure if what you’ve found is accurate, you can cross-check with Hunter.io, which works using the domain names of email addresses. It’s free for up to 100 searches per month and can help you make your outreach more accurate and on-target. This one is particularly helpful when you’re looking for contacts at a major corporation or national media outlet.
If you’ve tried all of the above and still haven’t found anything, there is one hack that can be really useful when the contact is someone you’re genuinely interested in getting to know, following and staying in touch with. Many authors, influencers and writers maintain an email list of subscribers they keep updated on their work, events and news. How to find that list? Look for a subscription box or a newsletter link on the person’s personal or portfolio web site. Sign up for the newsletter or mailing list. Oftentimes, the automatically generated confirmation email will come directly from the owner of the list, and you’ll be signed up to receive future emails from the person you’d like to reach.
The next time you receive an email from her, send them a personal, well-written message in reply. Keep in mind that she may go through tons of emails a day, so make it count!
If you’re a member of PressDope, check out the library of fashion email pitch templates for help the next time you’re reaching out to the media with news from your brand.