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A Look at Sarah Palin’s Media Strategy

Lauren Eichmann

There’s been talk recently over the disparity between Sarah Palin’s apparent interest in running for president and her desire for "celebrity" media status. Aside from her daughter, Bristol, currently being a finalist on “Dancing With the Stars” (much to the chagrin of one man who reportedly shot his T.V.), her new reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” recently premiered on TLC.

Around five million people tuned in, and there's already buzz around the show's significance. Is it an indication that Palin’s more or less serious about a potential presidential bid? It certainly seems to portray her in a less-than-serious light, but perhaps it’s her authenticity and conviction that she hopes to communicate to the masses.

“I hate seeing my native state being used like this,” says an Alaskan author in a blog post, writing that he believes America is supposed to learn family values from the show yet is confused by the audience she’s trying to reach.

On the other hand, CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody thinks the show does quite the opposite.

“I'm not saying people are going to then all of a sudden start to make the leap that she can handle the presidency,” he writes. “But this show makes her look more in control and strong. Those attributes are crucial in the rebooting of Sarah Palin 2.0.”

As reported in the L.A. Times, Michael Maslansky (CEO of research-driven strategic communications firm maslansky luntz + partners), says Palin is doing a smart job of portraying her values and beliefs to “a public skeptical of the traditional press.” 

This new strategy is a form of one-to-one marketing and PR, as she’s communicating directly to consumers through social channels like Twitter and Facebook, and bypassing a lot of the more traditional political outlets. It’s probably a good PR strategy, as her appearance on several news shows (notably when interviewed by Katie Couric), presented her as unprepared and unknowledgeable about several key topics.

Now she’s taking the lead and presenting the views she wants to share with the public; instead of traditional interviews she’s showcasing herself as a thought leader through a paid political commentary gig at Fox News. It’s a reality that people are talking about her, and she’s communicating with the public in a way that doesn’t first pass through pundits and other political commentators. She’s more in control of the message she wants to share with America. But is it a message America wants to hear, and one that instills confidence that she could truly become the next president?

Tell us what you think. Is Sarah Palin doing a good or bad job at handling PR? Does it make you believe she can be the next president, if that’s ultimately her strategy?