The other day I wrote a post about Finding Out About Events. So now that you've found out a specific event you want to cover, how do you figure out the person to contact?
I've had a much easier time finding out the publicist for sporting events (National motocross, drag racing, etc...) than for bands.
1) Event or band website
For big sporting events, a lot of times you can go specifically to the website set up for the event, and find a media contact. Sometimes it's under the "Contact" section, sometimes there's a particular media section where you can locate an email address. Other times it's listed in their calendar section when they list specific dates. When in doubt, send a general email to any "info" address listed asking who to contact for press credentials.
2) Facebook Fan Page
Believe it or not, this has become a great source of figuring out the publicist for bands. For certain bands that just don't have it listed anywhere on the website, a lot of times if you go to their Facebook Fan Page, and click on the Info tab, they'll have the publicist name. Sometimes you'll get lucky and the email address will also be listed. If not, that's what web searches are for.
3) Call the Venue
The venue where the event is booked most likely has a media contact on file. They obviously have to talk to somebody if there's a problem. Call the venue, explain who you are, and what you want, and see if they can get you an email address or phone number.
4) Performer forums
Some of the performer websites will have their own forums. In some cases, somebody in the past has asked who the publicist is, and hopefully gotten an answer. If not, create an account, and just ask the question. The really big fans of that performer will, for some reason, know the contact.
5) Good 'ol Fashioned Web Search
Sometimes doing a search for "Band X publicist" will yield something. Just be careful and make sure the results are current. Bands will sometimes switch publicists, so you don't want to contact somebody old. Current press releases will have information sometimes.
6) When in Doubt, Contact the Twitter Account or Facebook Page
This has only worked for me once, but then again, I've only had to use it once. It's basically a crapshoot since the event/band/group Twitter account can get flooded. If all else fails, and you absolutely can't figure out a contact, drop a tell to their Twitter account, or post on their Facebook Fan Page. I've used it once (for the Metal Mulisha, and I think I got lucky in getting a response as timely as I did), so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.
In many cases, the first person I've contacted has actually not been the correct one. For whatever reason, the information I've gotten has just been *slightly* out of date. In every case however, that person has forwarded my email to the correct one. Usually it's just a case of somebody else in their media company taking over publicity duties.
What do you do if you absolutely can't find a contact? Move on to something else! It's not the end of the world!