Become a Sleuth and Uncover Your Outreach Contacts’ Email Addresses

By Alex Katzen | Sep 11, 2013
More Articles by Alex


I realize what I’m about to cover is rather creepy. It’s my job though. (Infamous excuse, right?)

paid private investigator

I’m constantly working on getting in touch with people, especially those who aren’t easy to contact. For that very reason, I’ve become a pretty good online detective.

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As the Public Relations Manager of a search marketing agency, I’m constantly sifting through blogs, social profiles, directories, and general websites to find a contact’s email address. At the end of the day, an email address is the most important way to contact someone, since the majority of my PR contacts are formed and maintained online.

Here are my tips I’ve uncovered along the way for trying to stalk down your old flame find a contact’s email address to reach out for a news-related inquiry.

  • Start with the website of the company they work for
    • Select Ctrl-F on your keyboard and search for “contact” and “about” (sometimes these words are nestled under the menu options, so make sure to toggle over words like “more” or “miscellaneous.”
    • If the author is credited for a specific article, try clicking the name to access the individual’s profile page, which sometimes contains an email address or other contact information where an email address might live, like their blog.
  • Search their blog
    • First check their “contact” or “about” page. To speed up the process of reading through these pages, select Ctrl-F and search “@” or “dot.” To avoid spammers, some people will spell every letter of the email address – i.e. (at).
    • For Blogger platforms, click the profile section, usually listed on the right or left side of the homepage. Also, since they have a Blogger blog, it might be a good bet that they have a Gmail address, and their profile name is also what they use in Gmail. (Definitely confirm this on Google, though – see my Google tips below.)
    • On WordPress, there’s usually a Gravatar page, clickable from their name listed as the author of each post or listed in the comments section.
    • Try doing a WhoIs look-up to find the email they used for their blog’s domain registry.
    • Bloggers usually list their social media profiles on the homepage, so click through to these too.
  • Use social media
    • LinkedIn usually costs money to send an InMail, although there is a “Contact Info” tab, which sometimes displays an email address. You might even get lucky with finding their email address somewhere on their LinkedIn profile, such as in their Summary.
    • Facebook is your best bet. Navigate to the individual’s “About” section where users can list an email address.
    • Google+ is good because users can list an email or they can allow others to email them privately, so you don’t necessarily see their email address, but you can still send them a message through your Google+ profile. 
    • Try searching through additional social profiles, like About.me, YouTube, Quora, and Tumblr, to name a few.
    • I’ve yet to see emails listed on Twitter profiles, but some people have tweeted an email address in the past. Rather than dig through the user’s entire Twitter stream, head to Google.
  • When in doubt, turn to Google:
    • Make a guess at the person’s email address and do a Google search with quotations around it. If it’s right, you’ll see the email in the search results. Of course, this guessing game could go on eternally, so use these tricks to guide you:
      • Find an email address for one of their co-workers, like the editor of the website to use as a template. Usually the same email address format is used for all employees at a company.
      • Find their company’s general publication email so you know at least half of the email, (like pr@search-mojo.com or info@Search-mojo.com). Then try searching for the most common business-style email addresses: first name@, first name/last name@, or first initial/last name@; for example, “alex@search-mojo.com” “alexkatzen@search-mojo.com” or “akatzen@search-mojo.com.” This tactic works over 50% of the time for me, and is by far my favorite tip.
      • Query the person’s first and last name, plus “@fillinthewebsitedomain.com” in quotes (fill in the website’s actual domain after the @). This may yield a page that contains the actual email address of the exact person you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a Gmail address, you could also include the name of the person’s blog in your query so you are able to find the right contact (because there could be hundreds of people with the same name with a Gmail address).
    • And with that, I leave you with a handy list of Google search tips. You can search an entire website on Google: http://www.eternalcode.com/100-google-tricks-that-will-save-you-time-in-school

So go ahead with your bad self and get your inner-sleuth on.

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Feel free to share your thoughts or questions below or tweet us at @SearchMojo!

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