Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world. This collaborative online encyclopedia can enhance your company’s brand and online presence, but it’s not about advertising or self-promotion. Much of Wikipedia’s value is that it is perceived to be impartial and accurate, both by readers and by Google. However, a study published in the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) scholarly publication, Public Relations Journal, shows that 60 percent of Wikipedia articles about companies contain factual errors. If you’re thinking of creating a Wikipedia article for your business, keep these three tips in mind.
- Notability. Organizations who are worthy of Wikipedia pages are “Notable.” According to Wikipedia, an organization is notable “if it has been the subject of significant coverage in secondary sources. Such sources must be reliable and independent of the subject.” This means that what you write about your company on Wikipedia must be thoroughly backed up by articles or citations in authoritative publications.
- Citations. A Wikipedia article has to include citations to verifiable sources such as news articles, books and published reports that can be used to support the content. In our experience, a Wikipedia page is almost built “in reverse” by identifying the company’s media mentions, awards, and accolades and then writing the page around that third-party verification. Press releases and your company’s website don’t count as verifiable sources. Use of this kind of information will most likely lead to your page not getting published.
- Content. As marketers and public relations professionals, we have a tendency to be sometimes “salesy” in our writing. A Wikipedia article is intended to be factual and straightforward and not contain marketing or advertising copy.
My strongest piece of advice when it comes to Wikipedia pages is to research, write and publish both conservatively and cautiously. The last thing you want showing up on your page is a public critique of your efforts.