Build a Strong Online Presence with Wikipedia

I’m old enough to remember using the Britannica Encyclopedia, considered the defacto reference, when doing my school research work.  My how times have changed.  In today’s information age online journalists and high level influencers turn to the Internet to gather information on individuals and companies.  Where libraries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias once dominated the top spot for research, Wikipedia has quickly become a main source. But unlike these old-fashioned methods this is a place of community driven content.

How does Wikipedia Build your Online Presence?

  1. Having a Wikipedia Page will give you Page One exposure in the search engines.
  2. It establishes you as the expert for journalists with what I think of as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
  3. It will increase your Klout score.

Did you know that anyone can edit a Wikipedia article?  Before you get too excited about how great that is, it’s actually what makes having a Wikipedia page difficult.

It’s very important to understand how Wikipedia works and what is required in order to have a successful page that sticks there. You must have what is called ‘noteworthiness’.  Writing some articles or publishing a book isn’t enough.  What awards have you won?  What big media has written about you?

It’s different based on your professions.  For authors, there is a general guideline that has been established by Wikipedia and can be found here under “creative professionals” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AUTHOR#Creative_professionals). While the guideline seems very specific, the majority of authors can have Wikipedia pages created if they have had significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of them. For instance, if there is an article about them that has appeared in the New York Times or a well-known magazine, that could qualify them.

For books, the same would apply. The books would need to receive significant coverage. Generally, book reviews in well-known publications would qualify.

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Do not attempt creating a Wikipedia page without first having noteworthiness.

Once a solid media presence has been established, remember it’s important to follow this process, step-by-step.  Since anyone can publish on Wikipedia since there is no central management, anyone with a Wikipedia account can state a reason for deletion and when a second person agrees, it’s bye-bye Wikipedia page.

Ready to get started? Wikipedia makes that easy right from their homepage by creating a new account. Once your name or business is registered the process of creating content can begin.

The second step, as mentioned above, is to know the requirements for content submitted to Wikipedia for your individual notability or your brand’s. There are some guidelines to follow, including their own Manual of Style, similar to AP, which can be found here. Because this platform is open to anyone to edit and correct, it is important to follow the rules for pages, and to make sure your sources can be verified by a credible third party. Wikipedia even recommends perusing an actual encyclopedia before getting started to become familiar with the style and tone of this type of content.

The third step is to establish a strong reference of articles for you or business. You may already have guest articles or even a blog that you post to on a regular basis, but this is not enough to establish credibility. Consider publishing a press release through a PR firm or with a reputable company like PRWeb. This type of content will add to the references for Wikipedia.  Anything you can do to reduce the risk of your page being deleted is worthwhile.

Once you have created your Wiki page make sure your language is not marketing oriented – just the facts; and, make sure your statements are not puffed up as this will be a sign to Wikipedia that your business is not authentic. Become your own prosecuting attorney and go through your page line by line to weed out any unsubstantiated claims or information before the public has a chance to.

As your brand or business expands it will be important to update your Wikipedia page with news, events, changes, etc. Keeping your content fresh will ensure that it will not be removed, and also helps build a stronger presence online.

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