If Wikipedia isn’t already a pillar of your marketing strategy, it should be.  Why?  For one, it almost always ranks in the top three on Google.  For another, it’s the second most visited website in the world.  That means it gets hundreds of millions of unique page views every day.  It’s a safe bet that any potential customers or investors are going to look at your page at least once.  In fact, they might even visit Wikipedia before visiting your website and, when they do, they are going to start forming opinions.

So, how do you use that to your advantage?

Understand how Wikipedia Works

This can get a little confusing.  You see, because Wikipedia is a free, worldwide-accessible encyclopedia, it can be edited by anyone at any time.  This means that control of your page isn’t entirely in your hands.  So, you’ll have to approach this marketing strategy fairly differently from how you’d approach anything else.

When it comes to editing your page yourself, this is Wikipedia’s official take: You are discouraged from writing articles about yourself or organizations (including campaigns, clients, products, and services) in which you hold a vested interest.  However, if you feel there is material within an existing article which is incorrect, or not neutral in its tone, you should point this out on the article’s talk page.

As Wikipedia suggests, you can ask other editors to edit your page or suggest that an article featuring your corporation be created.  Be sure to have verifiable and reputable sources lined up to back up the content that you want included or changed.

Still wondering why you should bother?  Perform a Google search on your company.  What are the first page’s results?  If someone is looking for a non-promotional source (one not directly connected to your company) is Wikipedia the first option they will see?  Don’t you want to keep an eye on that source and ensure it presents company information in a factual manner?

Do Your Research

Wikipedia has six main guidelines:

  • Assume Good Faith: editors aren’t paid, so they generally edit pages because they care about the topic and want Wikipedia to be an objective, factual source.
  • Neutral Point of View: all articles should be objective and fact-based.  Wikipedia is not a source of advertisements.
  • Copyrights: information should not be copied word-for-word from any other source, including a corporation’s website.
  • Reliable Sources: sources must come from a third-party (no press releases, annual reports, or personal websites), and be reputable.  Think along the lines of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, local newspapers, and academic journals.
  • Verifiability: other readers and editors must be able to easily check on all sources.  Try to avoid any sources that lie behind a paywall or that only exist in another language.
  • Notability: Wikipedia articles must prove that they are important enough to merit a page. This means that the topic must be covered extensively by trusted, third-party sources.  It does not count if your corporation’s name is merely mentioned in an article.  It must be the focus of the article.

Prepare for Any Situation

First, review your current Wikipedia article.  Check out the page itself and its revision history.  When was the last time the page was edited?  Do you have one or two editors making the bulk of changes?  Knowing how much scrutiny your page is under is a useful step when planning new content.

If your corporation doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, review the pages of competitors.  Take note of how pages are organized and what information they include. 

Now, determine what you want added to your page.  Get specific.  Don’t just say “update product list” or “include recent history.”  What specific products?  What information about them?  What happened recently that needs to be on the page?

Once you have that list, organize it by your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and probably-won’t-make-its.  Now you have a starting point.  Take that list and start to research.  Find at least one (more is better) reputable, third-party source that backs up everything that you want added.  Use those sources to draft your ideal content.  Remember not to use promotional language.

Visit the Talk Page and Get Started

Now that you have your objective, properly sourced content, you are ready to interact with Wikipedia editors.  Visit your company page and click on “Talk,” found just above the page’s title (next to “Article”).  Identify yourself as someone connected with the company.  Explain what you would like added and provide the sources to back up its inclusion.  Start slowly.  Ask for one or two changes, wait for those to be approved and added, and then suggest one or two more.

To suggest a new page, follow the information found here.  Identify yourself as connected to the company, provide a brief (neutral) description of your company, and provide all the links that you found during your research.

Keep Going

As you might have guessed, this is just the beginning.  Your page will need to be periodically monitored.  If you’d like, you can use one of two tools:

  • Wiki Alert: add an extension to your browser, hook it up to your Watchlist, and receive an alert every time that a page you follow is updated.
  • Wikipedia’s Emailing Tool: get alerted by Wikipedia anytime one of your tracked pages is edited.  Visually, the alerts are on the technical side, and each page can only be tracked by one account and one email address.

Take your time, remain calm, and enjoy contributing to something seen by millions of people.  Remember, Wikipedia is an advantage.  Treat it as an important marketing tool and let it promote, not inhibit, company growth.

Post provided by The Mather Group, LLC, a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

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