Branding, Communications, Wikipedia

Harnessing the Power of Wikipedia

This is Part 3 in a three-part series for companies, brands, and people with established Wikipedia articles.

Establishing a Wikipedia presence for your organization or client should be a requirement for brand managers. Anyone charged with building a brand is doing their clients a disservice if these skills and services are not part of a brand packaging plan.

In previous articles, I have addressed two significant issues:

  1. If your client has a Wikipedia presence, and you are not managing it, someone else is; and 
  2. Even if you are paid to manage your client’s brand, Wikipedia’s rules state that you are permitted to influence those Wikipedia articles


Effectively edit Wikipedia as a brand manager

Brand managers of any stripe (public relations professionals, marketing agents, digital reputation managers) need to understand these concepts and integrate them into their services.

But how do you learn the intricacies of effectively managing Wikipedia articles when you are clearly in a conflict of interest by Wikipedia rules?

You could teach yourself.

You could read all the Help page entries to be found within the sprawling spider web of Wikipedia.

You could experiment with editing other articles to your own potential peril…

Or you could save yourself time, money, and heartache by summoning an expert teacher. Like our expert Wikipedia team.

I wrote my first Wikipedia article for a client in 2009, with the direction of an excellent trainer. I learned how to guide people through the often confusing, and painful process of conflict-of-interest editing. And, since 2012, I have been teaching clients how to navigate this tricky terrain. My associate, Kendall Leeper, has been working directly with client training for three years. She is on the frontlines of hearing from, and responding to, inquiries from potential clients.


Why Wikipedia training is worth it

Marketing and public relations professionals who are able to manage their clients’ Wikipedia presence successfully benefit substantially from this expertise. Offering the service demonstrates that you are a leader in your field, since most other brand managers have yet to master the skill.

You are prepared to respond proactively when a client requests help with Wikipedia, rather than reacting in crisis mode. You have a new service you can offer existing clients. You can also use it as a foot in the door for potential or former clients.

The promise of enhanced SEO from a well-written Wikipedia article is generally sufficient to seal the deal.

The training takes a commitment on your part, both of time and money. But when you have completed the training, you will be able to edit on behalf of your clients. We are always there to back you up if you need us. But many of the brand managers we have trained are quite capable of managing Wikipedia articles for their clients without our continued help.


Here’s what you will learn through our training program:

  • The specific rules of engagement for Conflict of Interest (COI) editing Wikipedia articles. We will teach you the risks of COI editing, as well as your rights as a paid editor.
  • The critical importance of transparency, of being honest about who you are and about your role as a brand manager.
  • How to connect and collaborate in an effective way with the volunteer community that sets the rules (and does most of the editing) for Wikipedia. Volunteers will become your advocates, not your adversaries.
  • The language and style of Wikipedia editing. Throw out everything you learned about creative writing. Why less is more, and boring is good.
  • Who and what is notable by Wikipedia standards. The single most important piece of knowledge to have before undertaking a new article on behalf of a client.
  • The techniques for managing Wikipedia articles so that they require as little maintenance on your part as possible.
  • Fighting fires. How to respond to a Wikipedia “crisis.”
  • Setting client expectations. We will teach you how to talk to your clients about 1) the value of being included in Wikipedia 2) the difference between Wikipedia and their website, and 3) leaving their egos out of their Wikipedia profile.

Your client could find someone online to edit on their behalf. But, if they don’t understand the Wikipedia culture — or aren’t transparent about being paid — you could find yourself needing to do damage control on their behalf. As a brand manager, editing Wikipedia should be in your wheelhouse. Clients want to be included in Wikipedia, and they want to work with someone they trust.


This is Part 3 in a three-part series. Check out the previous entries How to Get Started Editing as a Brand Manager, and Become Skilled in Wikipedia Editing for Your Brand.


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