If you want to stay in office, then you had better be reachable

(Political websites need an effective content management system)

Image Credit: raindog808

Congratulations! You got elected. Hmm, now just exactly what is your plan for staying in office? The simple answer to this question is that you are going to have to find ways to meet the expectations of the people who will be voting in the next election. Do you have a plan for finding out just exactly what is important to them?

You Gotta Stay Connected

Face it, you are a busy guy / girl. Yes, you know that making yourself reachable is going to be important, but just exactly how should you go about doing this? Perhaps this has been such a hard question to answer because you’ve been asking the wrong questions. Instead, perhaps its time for you to do some role playing and pretend that you are one of the voters in your district. If you wanted to get in touch with yourself, how would you go about doing it?

I hope that it goes without saying, but the very first thing that you’d have to do is to figure out what you wanted to talk with yourself about. Look, there may be a number of different things going on that are bugging you, but you’ve got to tackle them one-by-one. Pick a topic and you’ve got a start. Next, you are going to have to come up with a way to prove to yourself that you are relevant. Lots of people have lots of issues, you need to clearly communicate that you are a connection to the constituents in the voting district.

Your next step would be to do some research on yourself. If it turns out that you already support the position that you care about, then there may be no need to contact yourself. If not, then we need to press on. You’ll want to frame the issue that you want to talk about in terms of issues that are already important to you. An example of this would be to link road repair (important to you as a voter) to a balanced budget (important to you as a politician). Now you are going to have to create a story that is compelling. What has motivated you to reach out to yourself?

How To Become A Reachable Politician

If someone who might vote for you has gone through all of the effort to get this far, you need to be willing to meet them half-way. What this means for you as a politician is that you are going to have create an easy-to-use and effective communications tool that will allow voters to get their issues in front of you.

A great place to start is by creating a modern website that voters can use in order to reach out to you. A modern web site needs to be responsive -- this means that it automatically adjusts its look and feel based on the size of the screen that it is currently being displayed on. The GSL Solutions HillTop political content management system has the ability to automatically create websites like this. HillTop makes it easy for political staff members to quickly add new information to a web site in order to keep up with rapidly breaking news. Once the web site has been created based on all of the information that has been entered, HillTop provides website visitors with an easy-to-navigate site that will allow them to quickly find what they are looking for. Additionally, visitors can use customizable forms that have been created by your staff to leave their comments for you to review.

What All Of This Means For You

Elected officials face a real challenge. In order to get reelected they are going to have to have kept up a steady flow of information with the people who might vote for them in the next round of elections. In order to make this happen, they need to have a good understanding of what voters will have to go through in order to contact them.

The best way to gain this understanding is to do some role-playing. Take the time to think about how a potential voter would go from having an issue to contacting you. You need to realize that in order for this to happen, you are going to have to have an easy-to-use communication tool that they can use. A website like the ones designed using the GSL Solutions HillTop service is a good first step. This type of website will make it easy for your staff to organize and communicate the information that you want voters to have as well as providing custom forms that can be used to collect data from voters on issues that matter the most to them.

No, a new website is not going to guarantee you that you’ll be reelected the next time that you run for office. However, taking the time to understand the steps that your voters will have to go through in order to get in touch with you and how you are going to make this easy for them to do will go a long way. Give it some thought and simplify life for the people who matter the most to you -- the voters!

- Dr. Jim Anderson HillTop – Political Web Sites That Get The Vote!™

Question For You: Do you think that you should tell your voters that they need to have a clear issue to discuss before they get in touch with you?

GSL Solutions’ HillTop service provides politicians with a way to get voters more involved with the political process. HillTop has been designed by politicians, for politicians in order to provide easy-to-use tools that make updating a political web site with current and topical information easy to do. The web site becomes a powerful communication tool between the politician and the voters. More information can be found at: www.HillTopCMS.com

Tags: voters, issues, homework, focus, limited time, websites, political web site, campaign, voters, reelected, issues