Seek clarity in cluttered media landscape

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There’s a lot of professional soul-searching going on among media types these days, and people in the public relations realm are joining in.

Whom to pitch to? Where to plug?

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A decade or so ago, all you had to do was pick out your strategic targets from a list of trade pubs, major newspapers and TV stations. You nurtured relationships with a few VIPs, and spread your message to large swaths of target audiences through outlets those people generally trusted for credible information.

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The game isn’t so simple anymore, mostly due to the Internet – blogs, social networking sites, etc.

Today, the media landscape is dramatically more fragmented and commoditized. Meanwhile, the public’s trust in traditional, mainstream media appears to be waning.

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This is not to say that traditional media are out of the picture. It’s just that the picture is a lot larger and more cluttered than before. Now, people can go just about anywhere to get their news, and they do. And we can go just about anywhere to share that news, and we must.

But how do we sift through all those blogs and websites and online communities to find the ones that are relevant to our clients’ objectives and credible to the people they need to reach?

The task may be considerably more convoluted, but it’s still all about the same due diligence that’s always been needed. Start with strategy and keep working from there – because the days of measuring success in column inches in a newspaper, or sound bytes in a newscast, are long gone.

Mary Scheibel is a principal at Scheibel Halaska Inc. in Milwaukee. She can be reached at

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