The Media Is the Message, and You're in Control

01/17/2011 03:24 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In case you haven't noticed, the days of separation are over. Church and state. Me and you. The media and everyone else. There is no separation in any of those pairs anymore, most importantly the last.

The time of the 'fourth estate' is over. There are 20 or 30 'estates' now, and they overlap so much that at times it looks like the world of information has been subjected to a Vitamix blender set on high. Any company of any size with a story to tell, a brand to grow, or a market to penetrate has to take charge of its own media.

Welcome to the promised land. Things were actually easier in the "before" time. Those of us in the media knew who the government was, we knew who the corporate guys were, we knew how the sales departments worked, we knew to avoid the public relations people. The lay of the land was simple, clean, defined.

So much for that world. There are any number of explanations on when, why and how it changed, but suffice to say that it did and in this "new" world of media it offers a chance for everyone with a message to deliver it. So the question is how? Who will be the most effective?

Well, think about that for a second. Who knows your product, your family, your business, your goals better than you? There will be plenty of PR firms ready to take your money, many of them good. But will they tell you what you want to hear, or will they tell you what you should know? And frankly, how are you sure they know? You see, they're adjusting to this new world too. As is advertising, as are the corporations, as are... you get the picture. But the message is clear. You have control, but then so does your competition. In the 'before' world, messages were easy, the targets were big, the tools were simple.

In this world, messages are tougher, the competition is greater, the targets are smaller and the tools are many. Which one is the right one? How do I do it?

Start with this. Define your message, figure out who you want to tell it to, and use every tool in the box to get it out, deliver it. Use passion, use integrity, use your smarts.

In case you haven't noticed, the days of separation are over. There is very little distance between the winners and losers.

Which one will you be?