I find myself seeking out contacts at various companies quite a bit. Sometimes I want to work with the company as a writer or online marketer, and I’m looking for the right marketing contact. Other times I’m working on behalf of a partner, trying to place a guest blog post or maybe partner on a joint campaign. Or maybe I just have a question or need to conduct an interview.
Because I know I’m not the only one who spends serious Google time trying to find the right person at each company to meet my writing needs, I thought I would share some of my go-to tips and tactics:
I almost always start on this network. If I’m lucky, I can search the company, get a list of names, and someone with a title like CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), Business Development, VP of Marketing, Blog Editor, or Content Manager shows up. Jackpot!
The tough thing about LinkedIn is that it’s only as useful as your network. If you aren’t at least tangentially connected with anyone at the company, you’ll see that that person exists, and their first name, but the only way you’ll be able to contact them is through LinkedIn’s InMail. This can get expensive after a few InMails.
ProTip: Join LinkedIn groups that your contacts may also belong to. Even if you don’t have any contacts in common, that person’s first and last name will show up if you share a common group.
Check out the company blog.
Who writes the blog? Is an editor listed? If not, are there guest post guidelines? Often the email address or contact form in the guest post guidelines will lead you to someone in PR or Marketing.
Who writes the company’s press releases?
This may be your best go-to person if you can’t find anyone in Marketing.
Try an email address.
Do you know somebody else from the company? What’s their email address format (e.g. FirstName.LastName@company.com)? If you know the name of your contact, try mirroring the email address. It just might work!
Go to Support.
If all else fails, the company’s Support system could at least be a foot in the door. Be sure you indicate to the Support person you contact that you are looking for a marketing contact and why — otherwise you may end up as just another closed ticket.
Start with a warm intro. The best way to avoid becoming just another unread email is to have someone who knows both you and your desired contact introduce you.
Keep it short and sweet. Nobody has time to read a tome from a stranger. Say hi, tell them what you want, and thank them for their time. Shoot for five sentences.
Personalize! “To whom it may concern” will often concern nobody. Try your best to direct your message to a specific person, even if you have to send it to a generic PR or Support email address.
Don’t stop at email. Try social media, Skype, an old fashioned letter, or even the phone. I prefer email, and maybe you do, too (hey, we’re writers after all!) but lots of people will respond better to a quick phone call.
I’m always looking for new ways to identify and get in touch with the right person . . .