Is Wikipedia worth the trouble?

In the online world, Wikipedia is a powerhouse, consistently ranking in the top 10 of searched pages online. But Wikipedia also has a reputation for being a diva, with strict submission standards and laborious attribution requirements.

Which makes many people wonder if developing an “article” (as submissions are called) for Wikipedia is worth the time it takes to reference, cross reference and triple check information.

To answer this question, one merely needs to do a Google search on any topic to notice that Wikipedia typically presents in the top three results. As proof of Wikipedia’s power: a Google search for “coffee” serves up Wikipedia as the #1 source before Starbucks.

With nearly four million articles in the English Wikipedia, the website is visited by more than 5 percent of internet users every day. Not a bad place to be!

Developing an article is time consuming, but a few tips can help ensure your article is seen by people looking for you.

  • Understand Wikipedia’s guidelines. Since the website is crowd-sourced, understand that your article will be critiqued and edited by others.
  • Be factual, not promotional. If you’re posting an article about your company, stick to the history, products, finances, key management and accomplishments. This is not the place to reprint your product catalog or sales collateral.
  • Reference everything. Include an independent reference for all claims. This does not include news releases developed by your company. Use articles, third-party studies, analyst information and other independent sources to corroborate your facts.
  • Don’t ignore the negative. Since Wikipedia is crowd-sourced, it’s a good idea to address the issues that could reflect negatively on your business. If a manager was convicted of embezzlement, include it in the history of the company. It’s better to frame the issue the way you want than to have someone else do it for you.
  • Get a second opinion. Once you’ve completed your article, ask someone who is not affiliated with your company to critique it thoroughly and add important perspective. A journalist would be a great resource, or ask a university journalism class to do it as a project.

Finally, check back periodically to review changes that have been made to your article. If you see errors, post them on the “talk page” before making them.

This entry was posted in Brand Awareness, Messaging, Online Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Web/Tech, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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