Communications, Strategy, Wikipedia

Setting Wikipedia article expectations

Wikipedia is all about slow and steady results. But when you work with a client, they often want to see a quick return on the work done. We’re going to show you how to get your client on the same page, and break down long-term thinking into short-term strategies.

Managing realities of Wikipedia

After you have determined a client company is notable enough to merit a Wikipedia article, it’s time to add Wikipedia to your brand strategy. As a marketing professional, you must set realistic expectations from the start for your client’s Wikipedia article.

A child is eating cereal in milk at a table, in an image taken from above by Providence Doucet, via Unsplash.com. https://unsplash.com/photos/5za6niH4qpw

Starting off on the right track is important. Whether that’s breakfast in the morning, or immediately setting expectations with a client.

Most business owners are unfamiliar with how Wikipedia works — thinking of it as an extension of their website, or their publicity program. It’s up to the marketing expert to set the client straight on how the article will look and read.

Discuss these topics with a client before starting work on the article:

  1. An article about “your” company is not “your” article. No one controls a Wikipedia article. Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia written in a collaborative style. Anyone can edit it, including your competitor, a disgruntled customer, and a bored high school student.
    An experienced marketing professional, properly trained in the ways of Wikipedia, can manage a brand’s presence on Wikipedia, but the sort of control a company has over its website is not possible on Wikipedia.
  2. Wikipedia has its own language, style, structure. The tone of the ideal article is flat, even boring. Ideal articles are stripped of adverbs, adjectives, and quotes. Articles are fact-based, and the facts must be supported by credible media references.
  3. Only  one  company representative can edit the article. While anyone can edit Wikipedia, multiple employees editing a company article is expressly prohibited. That’s because paid editing is “strongly discouraged” by Wikipedia rules.
    When a volunteer editor believes that employees are teaming  up to bolster an article, they will shut down everyone’s account and revert (delete) the edits — if not the entire article.
  4. Wikipedia articles evolve. Clients need to understand that there is no final copy of a Wikipedia article. Any article can be edited at any time, with information, images, and references added, deleted, updated, and moved around.
  5. Volunteer editors will review your article. They are the ones who ultimately decide whether your topic is notable and your article is well done.
    Clients are often surprised to learn that strangers will review and alter the article about the company. This is how an open source format works.

Now that you have set these guidelines with your client, it’s time to start editing!

Moving beyond strategy

If you aren’t familiar with Wikipedia’s specific style and tone, it’s probable you will run into some problems when editors review your content. Cut out that worry by contacting us.

To the Point Collaborative specializes in training public relations and marketing employees of businesses, nonprofits, and individual clients in how to edit Wikipedia in an ethical way that enriches the articles related to their business. Learn how we can help.

 

 

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