We are often asked whether we believe a company or an individual passes the “notability standard” for a Wikipedia article. Like many aspects of Wikipedia, people are often confused by what defines notability. The standards seem subjective to someone not familiar with the inner workings of Wikipedia.
The following guidelines will help you determine whether you are ready for a place in Wikipedia’s annals.
Have you had substantial coverage by major media organizations?
Media citations, or references, are the key to your notability (or lack thereof).
If your company is constantly in the news, with articles appearing in local, regional and national media outlets, you’re notable in terms of media coverage.
- The Rogue Ales article is an example of citation done right. It doesn’t have a ton of citations, at 22. But the coverage is balanced, with major newspapers, magazines, industry press and more. In addition, the coverage is used well to support the information in the article. The less media coverage your company has received, the trickier it gets to justify an article.
- This article on Midas Muffler Co. could definitely use more citations; it only has seven and several of those are weak. Hence the banner at the top telling readers it needs more citations. Ideally, you would have at least 15 media articles appearing in a mix of local, national, and industry press that report basic facts about your company. Anything less than that, you’re not ready for prime time.
Have key facts been extensively covered by the media?
Media coverage is the key to including pertinent information about your company in the article. Because Wikipedia is so fact-based, you’ll want to make sure all the basic information about your company has been reported in the media:
- Location, number of offices, number of employees, key employees, primary products and/or services, financial information (if you make it available), major events in the company’s timeline.
- Your public relations team should make sure to include these basic elements in all press materials.
While some of these facts may not seem important or exciting, they are the backbone of your article. Without news media sources for this information, your article can be challenged by an astute Wikipedia volunteer editor.
Do your primary competitors have Wikipedia articles?
This is a tricky one. If you’re in an industry with 6-8 main competitors, and they all have Wikipedia articles with 15-plus references supporting them, that’s a good sign that your company probably merits inclusion, given sufficient media coverage. However, we often hear from prospective clients that their main competitor has an article so they should have one, too. But when we look at the article, it is often poorly written, poorly sourced and in all likelihood could be deleted for lack of notability.
It can be annoying to find a competitor on Wikipedia when your organization has yet to have a presence there. But the last thing we want for our clients is to have an article posted in haste with marginal media support, and then have it deleted due to a lack of notability.
We want your article to be bullet-proof, so that once it goes up, it stays up.