Diana Kelly Levey

Freelancing 101: How to Find Editors to Pitch Articles To

woman looking through magazines

December 19, 2022

(This blog post is a free sample lesson from my freelance writing online course Get Paid to Write: Become a Freelance Writer .)

Want to learn how to pitch an article to a magazine? Start with your freelance article ideas, and get to know the magazine or website you’d like to pitch the freelance article idea to. Now you need to learn how to find an editor’s name in a print magazine or learn how to find an editor’s name at a websiteThat can be more challenging than it seems!

Sending your idea to the correct contact will save you time, whether it’s an editor on the Refinery29 masthead, at Outside magazine masthead, or even T magazine masthead. When the wrong editor or contact gets a pitch, they might ignore it. And then you’ll be sitting there waiting to hear back from them when no one is actually going to respond to your article pitch.

There are several ways to find out whom to contact for a magazine, blog, or company and if it’s open to writers.  (Discover the 10 Things I Did to Earn Over $100,000 Freelancing in 2018.)

If you want to write for magazines, try to get your hands on at least the last two issues. Libraries are excellent resources for magazines, as is Barnes & Noble (or your local bookstore). You don’t even have to purchase the magazine if you don’t want to. Simply do your research and read the magazine there, then take photos of the masthead and the sections you want to write for. (For examples of winning article pitches that got sold, check out my PDF “20+ Pitches That Worked.”)

(In case you missed that, read the magazine! The biggest gripe editors have about pitches is that writers don’t know the audience or don’t fully grasp the types of content they publish.)

Learn how freelance writers get work.

Now that you’ve got the magazine in your hands, here’s how to find any editor’s contact information for your freelance pitch.

How to Find An Editor or Client’s Email Address

1. Find an editor at a print magazine:

Look at the masthead.

Before you start pitching article ideas, you need to know which sections of a magazine are available for freelancers and which are written in-house. Familiarize yourself with the masthead, the section in the front of the magazine that’s usually after the Editor’s Letter. Some magazines have it in the back (a few don’t have one at all).

That’s your starting point. From there, when you look at a byline on an article, see if the person’s name is also on the masthead. The front-of-book (FOB) sections of a magazine are often written by staff, usually editorial assistants, assistant editors, associate editors, and editors. I used to write the FOB health and nutrition pages when I worked at Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine. So if you saw my name next to one article (and then my initials D.K. next to other, smaller pieces on the same page) and noticed that my name was on the masthead, you should assume that this page is not open to freelancers. As you go through the magazine, note if a writer’s byline is on a page but their name isn’t on the masthead; that likely means that section is one the staff assigns out. If the section is written by a celebrity or a well-known person who’s a regular columnist, that might be a sign it’s not a section to pitch.

If you’re tight on time and don’t have access to the print magazine’s masthead, search LinkedIn for the person’s name. You’ll need to look at the company their magazine is published by. For example, Cosmopolitan is published by Hearst Corporation so you can try to email the editor by searching Hearst.com on the Hunter.io website. You could also check out a company’s press releases to see how a staff publicist’s email looks and copy that format with the name you found via LinkedIn.

Use online search tools to find staff names if you don’t have access to the masthead. I typed “Outside magazine masthead” into Google and got this search result with names. It even has their email addresses right there! Cross-check an editor’s name with their LinkedIn page and Twitter feed to ensure they’re still at that magazine before reviewing Outside magazine submissions and submitting any freelance pitches for magazines. Editors are constantly changing in this industry so check this information out before you send your pitch, and double-check again that they’re still at the publication when you send your follow-up email to the editor.

Doing this research ultimately saves you time because you’ll be pitching ideas only for sections that editors assign to freelancers.

Here are some Mistakes Freelancers Make When Pricing Their Work.

2.  Find an editor at a website:

Look to the masthead if it’s a print magazine’s site. This can be trickier because many websites hire more freelance writers than print magazines do. Magazines are limited by pages, but the Internet has no space limit, only an editorial budget. You should still apply the technique of looking at a masthead in the print magazine, then looking at the names of the digital team members for whom to contact. Under the digital or online section of a masthead, look for a senior editor, managing editor or digital director. I’d recommend contacting a senior online editor and asking if they use freelancers.

Apply the same email techniques mention above and below to  determine their email address format. If the website you want to write for doesn’t have a magazine associated, check out the press releases for the email format. To pitch an article idea to Refinery29 for example, you could check out the email format in the advertising section or media kit section of the website, or, search on Twitter for the Refinery29 editors and see if they provide their email addresses in their profile.  You could also learn about the Refinery29 masthead by searching “people” on LinkedIn under the company profile page as well.

3.  Find content marketing clients:

Go on LinkedIn and look up the company name, then see the PEOPLE who work there and look for someone with a title of Marketing Manager, Content Marketing Manager, or Editor. (By the way, get freelance writer LinkedIn tips here to help you earn more money.)

Type the company website into free hunter.io to learn how they formulate emails. They will show you the “most common pattern” (i.e. for my site dianakelly.com, it shows, “Most common pattern” {first}@dianakelly.com and even an example with d—-@dianakelly.com. Follow this pattern using the marketing manager’s name you found on LinkedIn to try their email address. (Note, you might need to try this a few different ways if the email bounces back.)

Since editors move around all the time and media companies are always conducting layoffs and hiring and firing, I suggest seeing if an editor has updated their status on Twitter. They might share their work email address, the sections they are editing and if they are looking for pitches.

Now that you have an editor’s name, learn the best time to pitch an editor.

Just getting started? Check out my new freelance writing online course “Get Paid to Write” and learn the skills you need to kick-start your career, find well-paying freelance jobs, and become a successful freelancer.

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