How to find a journalist's email address: 4 FREE tools to make media list building easy
Finding a journalist’s email address can sometimes feel like digging for a needle in a hay stack.
During my first internship, I was given the arduous task of building a media list for a client. It took me close to an hour to find those first 10 contacts. I felt ashamed of the small list and decided to do some research on how to find people’s contact information. After researching best practices for media list building, I came back and slammed together a contact list of 200 outlets with relevant contact information in just three hours.
What made the difference? My tools.
Before giving you the tools, let’s go over the basics. The more media lists you build, the faster you will become. For those who are new to the field, knowing where to look for journalists’ contact info can be overwhelming.
First, find the outlets you want to target. Muck Rack provides a convenient search tool to find the right journalist to pitch. You can also do a basic search in Google using keywords or queries like these:
Inurl:“keyword” – This query will take the given keyword and find it in all URLs.
Intitle:“keyword”- This query will find the keyword in any meta titles.
Once you find the right outlets, look for the appropriate journalist by:
1. Going to the relevant section of the media outlet and choose a journalist based on one of their recent articles. For example, if you're looking for a journalist to pitch a story about a rehab center, look in their health section for a journalist that has written about addictions or other similar topics.
2. Once you find the journalist, check these places for their contact info:
- Their bio, which can usually be found by clicking their name from an article they wrote.
- The media outlet's "Contact Us" or "About the Staff" pages, which can be found either at the top right of the main navigation or the very bottom of the website.
Can’t find the contact info? Don’t fret! Try one of these FREE online tools:
Linksy.me (pictured above) is one of the top tools I use to find someone’s email. You will need to know the journalist’s first and last name. You can also copy and paste in the domain if you think it would be included in their email. For example, many companies use their domain name, like Webpagefx.com, as the last part in their email. Do not include the http://www in the domain box if you include it. Linksy will run through a series of potential matches and will show you which one it is. Most times it will not give you a definitive email so I combine it with the Rapportive tool below to narrow down the prospects.
Rapportive is great for two reasons. First, it can help you reason out someone’s email address. Once you have a few matches from the Linksy tool or on your own, paste them into the Send To field in your email. On the right side of your inbox, Rapportive will list their social pages, job, city/state and picture. All this information is not always available. Some have a more complete Rapportive profile than others. If nothing shows up, it doesn’t mean the email isn’t accurate, but it is a good indicator that you should keep looking in most cases.
The second benefit of the Rapportive tool is getting an inside scoop. Journalists like to know that you are invested in their work and not just pitching them without doing your homework. Rapportive allows you to quickly do research on an individual helping you to deliver a more targeted pitch.
Tip: Rapportive only works in Gmail and is compatible with Firefox, Safari, Mailplane and Chrome.
Whois.com provides a tool to find contact info of a given URL. This usually works best for small sites like blogs where you want to know the correct contact for the person who controls the site. Paste the URL of the site into the top right search box and click Whois Lookup. Some site owners block their information but many times you will be able to find the contact’s name and email.
Social and Search
If you still can’t find the journalist’s contact info, consider doing a search on Google, Facebook and Twitter. Many journalists have a profile page or blog that provides a personal email. Other times, you can reach out to them through Twitter, strike up a conversation and come away with an email address.
It can take a lot of work to find the right journalist and their contact information, but it's all the more worth it when you land that big story for your company or client. If you don’t have time or just want to take a shortcut, there are paid directories and sites that offer you a place to connect with journalists. But for those with smaller budgets, these tools are a fantastic way to begin building a solid media list of relevant journalists and bloggers.
PR pros: what's your favorite tip or trick for finding a journalist's email address?
Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Business Insider, and Spin Sucks.
Photo: Screenshot of Linksy.me