Media Relations: No Swiping Left or Right


By Tricia Denci

When building relationships with the media there is no app or easy swiping left or right on your phone to automate the process and allow you to become a resource for media. You have to slowly build a connection and trust based on a common interest. Then this connection can grow into a mutually beneficial relationship. Does that process sound familiar? Media relations can feel a lot like dating.

Let’s break down relationships comparing in-real-life vs. the PR world.

Initial Connection:

  • IRL: You smile at the object of your affection while ordering your morning Starbucks latte or laugh as bump into each other on the bus.
  • PR: You read a reporter’s article about your client’s industry or you “like” a clever tweet they posted about the industry.

The Ask:

  • IRL: Hey… I saw you drink coffee and was wondering if you’d like to… umm… grab coffee together sometime?
  • PR: Hey, I saw you wrote this article and I have clients that are doing unique things in that same industry. Would you like to grab coffee?

The Date:

  • IRL: Now that I have your attention, let’s scramble to find any and all topics of conversation; the weather, the food, the Kardashians.
  • PR: Now that I have your attention, let me tell you EVERYTHING there is to know about my client.

Post Outing Over-Analysis:

  • IRL: What does this vague response even mean? Why aren’t they responding to my messages? Maybe they don’t even like me.
  • PR: What does this vague response even mean? Why aren’t they responding to my messages? Maybe they’re not even interested in my client.

Outside pressure:


  • IRL: Your parents called again asking why you aren’t dating anyone.
  • PR: Your client called again asking if you got them any coverage.

The Magic Moment:

  • IRL: “Hey, I had a really great time. Would you like to go out again next week?”
  • PR: “Hey, I’m working on a story and I think your client is a great fit.”


The One Night Stand (It happens…)

  • IRL: A crazy night that turns into a whirlwind romance, which concludes with never seeing that person again.
  • PR: One email leads to a whirlwind of back and forth. A beautiful story is written about your client, but that media contact never responds to your emails again.

The moral of the story is building a relationship takes time, more than just a right swipe. There may be awkward moments along the way, but in the end it’s worth it. Having a go-to media contact to share client news with is priceless and can make or break a campaign. Solid media relationships are one of a PR pro’s biggest assets.

Meet Tricia

1. They made a movie about your life, what would it be about and what actress would play you?

The Tricia Denci film would be about learning how to be an adult. Working, paying rent, cooking an actual meal, making adult friends, the struggle is real.
I think a young Reese Witherspoon would be perfect for the role. I’ve heard a few times that I look like her (although I prefer to say she looks like me).

2. What’s your favorite thing to do in the winter?

Living in San Francisco, the winter never really feels like winter to me. My favorite thing to do is visit my family on the East Coast for a dose of snow, wind and ice… and then promptly return to mild San Francisco.

PSA: December 21st is essentially the most important day of the year, so that’s a winter favorite too (my birthday!).

3. If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

There are too many to just pick one! I can never say no to French fries, but I also have a pretty killer sweet tooth. Warm soft chocolate chip cookies would be essential. Then Champagne to wash it all down, no special occasions required!