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As Evolven’s marketing director since 2010, I directed all phases of both the creative and technical elements of marketing initiatives including event planning and organization, brand creation, print/Web collateral development, channel partner cultivation, lead generation, as well as running webinars.

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Phone: 054-921-3547 Email: martinperlin@yahoo.com

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11.05.2014

How do You Get Your Corporate Wikipedia Page Up

 
I'm a marketer hoping to get my company included in Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales created a bona fide global phenomenon with Wikipedia.org. The nonprofit site is used by 36 percent of adults in America alone (How Wikipedia impacts buying and selling.). I know that I need to engage with the community carefully. To that end, I'm organizing the tips that I've come across for how to work with Wikipedia and get an article created and monitor pages about a company. 

Notability
The first thing that I have to consider is the notability of my company. According to Wikipedia's notability guidelines. Wikipedia essentially defines notability based on a company’s substantial coverage in reliable secondary sources.
 
Getting Started
Marketing Sherpa (in Special Report: How to Get Your Company Listed on Wikipedia) has done a lot of research in this area and I want to quickly list the different approaches, which vary greatly, for getting a foothold on Wikipedia.
  • Create your own “Stub” article: a short, quick "just the facts" version of your article. Diana Huff says in How to Develop a Wikipedia Page that Sails Through the Approval Process "It pays to start by making small edits to existing pages to test your skills before trying to create new content." 
  • Propose an article for creation: use the Wikipedia system to ask that someone in the community write about this subject. 
  • Have a member of your community create an article: reach out to someone that you are friendly with in the Social Media sphere
Writing Content
The content of your article must be absolutely neutral and referenced, and meet the main criteria of notability.  Tony Ahn explains in How to Successfully Submit Your Article to Wikipedia, that "Trivial or incidental coverage in a source is not sufficient: It isn’t enough to just be mentioned a couple times. The coverage must provide information that can be used to add depth to a brand’s Wikipedia article. If the depth of coverage in a particular source is not substantial, then you must cite multiple sources. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject is not sufficient to establish notability."

You can take your time and be very particular about becoming familiar with Wikipedia and the style of articles, collecting good references, and vetting your text. Eventually you need to get involved and test the waters. Sal Partovi's answer to the question on Quora "How do you start a Wikipedia page about a company?" was "First of all, if you're going to just jump in and do it anyway, then be very careful to keep as neutral a point of view as possible (harder than you might think), and to reference every single sentence you write."

For my company page, I looked at the company pages for about 5 other companies in similar markets, studying the style and content of the articles.Then I wrote our article staying close to the subjects described in the articles that I found. In reviewing my first draft of article content, I put together all my sources and attributed the information in the article to strong, third party references. If I had a point or claim that I couldn't reference, then I trimmed those parts out. This left me with a draft that was neutral, clearly referenced point by point and notable.

Patience
As one respondent on Quora explained in response to the query How do you start a Wikipedia page about a company?, "Expect this to take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to get authored and accepted." It can be a longer process than expected, validated in the article How to Get Your Company Page Up in Wikipedia saying, "We were trying to publish a company article for a while and believe me we tried hard. Our submission was rejected two times, but finally it got approved."

Diana Huff said, "After waiting about 12 days for a response, I saw that other pages that had been submitted around the same time as mine had gotten their approvals, or challenges, or had been deleted. Eventually, I assumed mine was fine and went ahead and moved it to the public space."

After submitting my first article, the Wikipedia page displayed the message "This may take several weeks, to over a month. The Articles for creation process is severely backlogged. Please be patient. There are 2718 submissions waiting for review."

Jumping In
The delay and patience that I described is due to Wikipedia's Articles for Creation (AfC) project, which was set up with the purpose of allowing people to submit articles for peer review and movement to the main space of Wikipedia. Michael Wood describes how to get your article approved by Wikipedia, explaining that " posting an article to the main space is not against Wikipedia guidelines and you do not necessarily have to go through the AfC process. While it is a good idea in theory, there are many reasons why the AfC process can otherwise hold up a good article from being created. If you are unsure if your article meets Wikipedia guidelines, then AfC could be the way to go."

So I took my article out of the long Articles for Creation queue and manually moved it into the Wikipedia mainspace. Wikipedia explains that this can be done "if your account is already autoconfirmed, you have the ability to move the page on your own."  In the 'Move' option, you just select (Article) and save. This makes the article 'live'.

Should You Write a Wikipedia Page about Your Company
Wikipedia wants the sites content to be neutral, so it takes great exception to having employees of a company putting information about their own company on Wikipedia. While there are biased, agenda-filled marketing promoters looking to leverage Wikipedia's web strength to promote their product, many others legitimately want to play by Wikipedia's rules and contribute a non-biased, notable article about their company (rather than the company not noted at all). Geoffry James noted the absurdity of this situation in his article in CBS's MoneyWatch, How to Game Wikipedia, "in the twisted world of Wikipedia, a corporate updater (even if identified as a real person with a real identity) is assumed to be biased, while any anonymous troll with a chip on his shoulder is considered a "real" person capable of making judgments about what's appropriate to go in a corporate entry."

To address this situation, Phil Gomes penned a post, CREWE Corporate Representative for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement, and setup a Facebook group to explore the issue of  corporate communicators engaging Wikipedia. He lays down four pillars:
  • Corporate communicators want to do the right thing.
  • Communicators engaged in ethical practice have a lot to contribute.
  • Current Wikipedia policy does not fully understand #1 and #2, owing to the activities of some bad actors and a general misunderstanding of public relations in general.
  • Accurate Wikipedia entries are in the public interest.

I published our company's page on Wikipedia. It was not promotional, and simply factual based  on what third parties have reported about the company. The company, for now, is in the Wikipedia directory and hopefully as the company grows and more notable events happen, there will be more to report in Wikipedia.

References

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