(Political web sites need an effective content management system)


Phone banks are great, but only if they work with your website. 
Image Credit: Bernard Pollack

Being an elected politician is very much like running a marathon: you have to keep moving forward or you’re not going to be able to finish the race. We’re now living in the 21st Century and so it can be very easy for an elected official to get all caught up in things that text and things that tweet and start to believe that if only these new technologies can be harnessed to work for them, then staying in office should be simple to do. Sorry about this, but things don’t work this way.


Say Hello To Your Old Friend: The Phone Bank

I can almost hear you scoffing -- a phone bank? A room filled with old phones where volunteers or staffers are spending their time calling voters in your districts in order to discover how they feel about issues and your job performance? Well surprise, it turns out that this is a very effective means of getting in touch with the people who matter the most to you -- your voters.

I believe that the use of phones by elected politicians is becoming a lost art. Some politicians believe that texting and mobile apps can replace the old-fashioned volunteer / staff phone call. I don’t believe that that’s the case. It has been shown that politicians who once upon a time enjoyed the national spotlight during the last election cycle didn’t operate phone banks at all—and they lost their seats.

The phone bank should be the heart of your voter identification and information collection program. The phone bank will help you to target your manpower, direct mail and even television and radio buys. A well-organized phone program allows you to reach thousands of voters each week, track their position on important issue, and then encourage supporters to go vote on Election Day. These are things that email, text messages and mobile applications cannot do effectively.


How A Phone Bank Feeds A Website

Having a smoothly running phone bank is a great way to stay on top of what your voters want to tell you. However, once you know this, what do you do next? The answer to this question is simple: you use your website to communicate with those same voters.

In order to clearly communicate your political positions to your voters, you’re going to need to have a top-notch website. Having invested so much time in understanding your voters, you will now want to make sure that as many people as possible are going to be able to hear your message and understand it. 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 position on the issues that matter the most to your voters out in front of the voters 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 official 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

In this era of high powered mobile phones and always-on access to the Internet, it can be all too easy to lose sight of what works the best for politicians who want to stay in office. It turns out that the most effective solution to understanding what is important to your voters and then effectively communicating with them can be accomplished using the old standby of phone banks and websites.

Phone banks that are operated by either volunteers or staffers provide you with an effective way to get in touch with the people who put you into office. You can use your phone bank to determine how your voters feel on a wide variety of political issues. Once you have this information, you can then use your official website to communicate your position on the issues that matter the most to your voters.

The good news is that all of this can be done. However, clearly communicating your position on political issues is a critical component of accomplishing this. 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 publicize your position on the issues that matter the most to your voters. Take the time to investigate how you could use GSL Solutions’ HillTop service to make the most of the information that you’ve collected from your phone banks..

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

Question For You: Do you think that you should update your website in real time based on what you learn from your phone banks?

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: phone bank, lost art, texting, mobile apps, volunteer , staffer, voter identification, reach, , political web site, campaign, voters, reelected, issues