How to find editors' contact details
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 to find the editor’s contact details. While there is no one way to locate every single email address or phone number for an editor, there are a number of tools and strategies you can use to find the right person to pitch to (and some may surprise you).
How to find magazine and newspaper editors’ contact details
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 (e.g. editorial staff, art, marketing, circulation, advertising and so forth). Depending on which section of the magazine you want to pitch, your best bet is to pitch the editor, managing editor or features editor.
Once you have their name, skim down and see if there’s an email formula (e.g. there will usually be an email address given such as email@example.com - use this formula to slot in your editor’s name (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). 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" and the publication name. You can also try searching for "contributor guidelines" or "writer guidelines" and the publication's name as this will commonly list who to pitch to.
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 really isn’t. If you really can’t work out what an editor’s email address is, find the switchboard number for the publication, know the editor’s name, 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 some will suggest you pitch to a generic email address or to email the pitch to them and they will pass it on (don’t do this – there are other ways of finding out the correct email address).
Unless you are specifically requested, don’t pitch to a general email address.
I did this in my first year of writing, and I never heard back. Once I knew better (at least a year later), I pitched to the editor and got an immediate commission. 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, simply send them a tweet and say something like, “Hi X, I have a great idea for a story for [publication], what’s the best email address for you so I can pitch?”
Online email finder tools
You can use tools like Hunter or Anymail Finder to help find editors’ contact details. With Hunter and Anymail Finder, you simply put in an editor’s name and website domain and it’ll usually deliver you their email address. After a certain number of results (20 with Anymail Finder and 100 on Hunter), you’ll be prompted to sign up to a paid subscription, but I’ve only ever used the free version.
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. If you’re not sure who 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).
You may be able to send them an invitation with a short note to connect or 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 return to sender. To keep up to date with movements in the Australian and Asian media industries, it’s absolutely worth subscribing to Telum Media Alerts where you get regular round ups of new publication launches, job vacancies, editorial changes and so forth.
Also worth signing up for is the AAP Medianet newsletter.
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 it follows they will be happy to do the same.
Explore new platforms
The former editor of CNN Travel James Durston has created a free platform called PitchWiz to help freelance writers connect with editors. It’s still in the early phases, but so far there are over 2000 writers and 700 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.
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, and 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?