You’ve got a great idea for an article for a magazine, newspaper or website. You want to pitch it, but you have no idea where or how to find the editor’s contact details. Or, you have connected with a potential client on LinkedIn and you want to email them a letter of introduction (LOI).
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magazine editors’ database?
Or a comprehensive list of corporations and the contact details for their communications staff?
While there is no single way to find every single email address or phone number, there are lots of tools and strategies that can help.
Because even if you have a beautifully crafted pitch or an excellent LOI, if it doesn’t land in the inbox of the right person, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
How to find magazine and newspaper editors’ contact details and the email addresses of potential clients
Look at the masthead
For print magazines, go straight to the masthead.
This is the page that lists all the departments and who works in them.
Your best bet is to pitch the editor, managing editor or features editor.
Depending on which section of the magazine you want to pitch these are usually the best people to approach.
Not the editor in chief and not the editorial assistant.
Once you have the editor’s name, skim down and see if there’s an email formula.
There will usually be a generic email address given such as firstname.lastname@example.org
Use this formula to slot in your editor’s name (e.g. email@example.com).
Common formulas are first name followed by last name, first initial and last name or first name dot last name.
For online publications, search for terms such as “managing editor” or “digital editor” + the publication name.
You can also try searching for “contributor guidelines” or “writer guidelines” + the publication name.
Before you send off your pitch it’s worth plugging the email address into Google and seeing if it turns up any results.
I also really recommend using Hunter’s free email verification tool.
Ring the switchboard
Yes, I know.
It sounds scary, but it isn’t so bad.
If you’re struggling to work out an editor’s email address, ring the publication’s switchboard.
Explain you are a freelance writer and ask for the editor’s email address.
Most times the operator (or editorial assistant) will be able to give it to you.
But sometimes they will suggest you pitch a generic email address or to email the pitch to them and they will pass it on.
Don’t do this.
I did this in my first year of writing, and I never heard back.
In very rare instances, some publications will have one online portal where they accept submissions and they regularly check it, but mostly, it’s best to try the correct email address of the person you want to contact.
If you can, always pitch to a human.
Twitter is such a great place to find editors’ email addresses.
Some, if you are lucky, will have their email address within their bio.
Some will have their DMs open so you can message them directly.
If you find your editor on Twitter, send them a tweet and say something like: “Hi X, I have a great idea for a story for [publication], what’s the best way to contact you?”
You can also use All My Tweets – a great website where you plug in someone’s Twitter handle and it brings up all their tweets.
I like to search for an @ symbol within their tweets to see if they’ve ever given out their email address in a tweet.
Online email finder tools
With Hunter and Anymail Finder, you simply put in an editor’s name and website domain.
Then it’ll usually deliver you their email address.
You can sign up for a free trial with Anymail Finder, which gives you 90 verified emails, so it can be worth saving up all your contact queries and searching all at once.
With Hunter’s free version you get 50 free requests a month.
LinkedIn is such a great resource for freelance writers.
While not every magazine or newspaper editor is on the site, it’s still a fantastic place to connect with many editors.
And it’s a treasure trove of information if you’re looking to land corporate clients.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure of the person’s name you are looking for.
Simply type in the magazine or newspaper (or the media company that publishes the magazine/newspaper) and the title (e.g. managing editor, digital editor).
For corporate clients, you’ll be looking for people with titles like “marketing manager” or “communications manager”.
Then send them a connection request with a short note that says something like, “Hi [name], my name is X and I’m a [insert title]. I’m wondering if you’d like to connect?”
Or if you’d rather email them directly, you can you use an extension like Skrapp to extract email addresses.
There’s nothing more annoying than sending a pitch to an editor only to have the email bounce.
These are a great way of staying up to date with new publication launches, job vacancies and editorial changes.
Company press releases
If you’re looking for contact details at a corporate organisation, head to the ‘news’ or ‘about us’ section of their website.
Take a look at the press releases, media kits or other marketing information on the company’s website and see if there is a contact listed.
Often the marketing or communications manager will have their contact details listed at the bottom of these documents.
Phone a friend
Part of being a freelancer is building great relationships not only with editors, but with other writers and journalists.
If you are willing to share your connections and contacts with other writers, then often they will be happy to do the same.
Sign up for platforms and newsletters
There are over 10,000 freelance writers and editors using the site.
With editors from publications such as Luxury Retreats Magazine, Lonely Planet, BBC, Grazia, Good Housekeeping and more, it’s definitely worth registering and pitching editors via this new platform.
You can read more about it here in this interview with James.
And I know I’ve raved about this many times before, but Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of the Week newsletter is fabulous.
This is where Sonia curates a list of Twitter call outs from editors.
It’s worth ten times the $3 USD/month fee.
While none of these methods above are absolutely foolproof, they offer a variety of ways to get in touch with the editor you want to pitch to.
Part of being a freelance writer is being tenacious.
There’s nothing like a hard-to-find email address that really tests a writer’s mettle!
Which of these have you used? Do you have other favourite ways of finding editors’ contact details?