(Political web sites need an effective content management system)


Politicians need to understand all of the stakeholders associated with an issue
Image Credit: Jinho Jung

As an elected politician, your life revolves around issues. The voters who put you in office have their own opinions on what issues should be at the top of your list and what your position on those issues should be. If you want to have a chance to stay in office, then you’re going to have to make sure that you find out who the stakeholders who are associated with the issues are.


Why Are Stakeholders So Important?

Let’s face it, not everyone who voted for you is going to have an opinion on every issue that you are going to have to deal with. However, some of them are and that’s where things start to get interesting. Stakeholders are people, groups, organisations, or institutions that are connected to the issues that you are going to have to deal with.

They may support you, be adversely affected by the issue in question, have the power to change the situation, or even be responsible for the problem you have identified. An important task for you as a politician is to learn as much as possible about the stakeholders that you’ll be dealing with.

This means that you’re going to have to spend you time researching four key items:

  • Understand Relationships: You are going to have to take the time to understand each stakeholder's relationship to the problem and then what their relationship is to your proposed solution. Remember that not every stakeholder is going to be a supporter of what you have planned.
  • Define Relationships: You will need to do your homework so that you can define the relationships between different stakeholders
  • Friend Or Foe: You'll need to determine the ability and willingness of stakeholders to help or hurt your political position.
  • Focus: You need to identify which of these stakeholders your office should concentrate on to create the change your desire.


How To Map Stakeholders

As a politician, you need to make sure that you understand where all of your stakeholders stand in terms of the key issues. The first step in discovering their position is to begin defining the specific objective/s of your political situation. You'll want to consider each stakeholder's level of support and level of influence in the context of your campaign objective/s.

The next thing that you’re going to want to do is to identify as many of your stakeholders who can help you to achieve your political objectives as possible. Here are the four steps that you are going to want to take:

  • In simple, active terms, define what would resolve your problem and bring about the change you seek. Your objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
  • Using the list of the stakeholders, identify as many as possible who could help achieve your objective. Now draw a "+" sign on a piece of paper. The vertical axis represents a stakeholder’s level of influence in achieving the goal of your political objective from most influential (top) to least influential (bottom). The horizontal axis represents whether a stakeholder is likely to oppose (left) or support (right) your political actions.
  • Now you are going to want to identify your potential primary targets. After you place all the stakeholders on the paper, identify the most influential entities or individuals. These are going to be those who can make the change you seek. You’ll want to make a note of their level of support or opposition for your change.
  • Finally, take the time to identify stakeholders who support your political positions and who have influence on or relationships with your primary target group. These people will become your secondary targets, or participant groups, who could become actively involved in helping your political efforts achieve their goals.Identify two or three participant groups to concentrate on.

Once you’ve mapped out your stakeholders, you are going to want to create a way for you to clearly communicate your position on the issues to them . Having invested so much time in identifying your stakeholders, you will now want to make sure that you are going to be able to reach out and connect with them. One of the best ways to make this happen is to create a website using GSL Solution’s HillTop service. Using this dynamic content management system (CMS) will allow you to focus on your message and let the CMS worry about building and formatting the actual website.

Your HillTop based website will allow you to get your political position out in front of your stakeholdes as quickly as possible -- no long setup times are required. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on your content and making sure that you have expressed your ideas as clearly as possible. The GSL Solution’s HillTop service allows easy editing of your political web site by multiple people at the same time. This means that keeping it up-to-date as things change will be easy to do.


What All Of This Means For You

If there is one thing that being a politician is, it’s not lonely. For every political issue that you are going to have to deal with, there will be a number of stakeholders. You are going to have to be aware of each of these stakeholders and understand their position.

The first thing that you are going to want to do is to make sure that you understand why your stakeholders are so important. Take the time to perform the four steps that are required in order to research your stakeholders. Next you are going to want to map out your stakeholders. Using a simple diagram you can quickly and easily determine which of your stakeholders will be likely to oppose or support your political actions.

No, nobody ever said that the life of a politician was going to be easy. However, if you take the time to understand the issues that you are facing and the role that your stakeholders will play in them, then your job will have suddenly just become that much easier.

The good news is that all of this can be done. However, clearly communicating with your stakeholders is a critical component of being a successful politician. An effective web site implemented using GSL Solutions’ HillTop service can make this task much easier to do. HillTop will allow you to ignore the complexity of designing a sharp looking website and instead focus on creating the content that will help you to connect with your stakeholders. Take the time to investigate how you could use GSL Solutions’ HillTop service to get the word out to your stakeholders.

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

Question For You: Do you think that it's ever possible to have too many stakeholders involved in an issue?

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 website with current and topical information easy to do. The website becomes a powerful communication tool between the politician and the voters. More information can be found at: www.HillTopCMS.com.


Tags: stakeholder, people, groups, organisations, institutions, issue, change, responsible , task, understand , define, determine, identify, political web site, campaign, voters, reelected, issues