Search on Google for Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, or Tim Cook and the first result you will see is not their personal website, corporate website, or Twitter feed. Rather, it is their Wikipedia page.
For individuals and brands looking to improve their online reputation, a page on the world’s top wiki is important. Few resources can boost credibility to the degree that a Wikipedia Page can. Because it is subject to constant review by independent editors, it stands as a reliable source of unbiased information on a brand. In addition, the information that Google provides on its knowledge panel is typically pulled from Wikipedia, meaning that maintaining a page will give you more control over the information that Google shares about you and your brand.
The only downside is that they can be very difficult to establish. The guidelines are very strict and the Wikipedia team is quick to remove information that is supported by verifiable sources. As one of the primary providers of Wikipedia pages and one of the three most trusted sources on the internet to get them, OtterPR can provide expert guidance and support to those seeking to obtain a Wikipedia page.
Creating a Wikipedia page for your company starts with assessing notability
As an online encyclopedia, Wikipedia is committed to including only those articles that cover notable subjects. Wikipedia provides pages of information explaining its position on “notability” and the steps that it takes to determine it. Here are a few of the key points that need to be considered:
- Independent coverage or recognition – Wikipedia’s view is that no person, brand, or subject is “automatically or inherently notable” based solely on the condition that it exists. In other words, to be worthy of an article, you need to do something that is significant, sustained, and noticed by someone other than yourself or those who represent you. Sources that meet those eligibility requirements include “recognized peer-reviewed publications, credible and authoritative books, reputable media sources, and other reliable sources generally.” A magazine like Forbes works. Your personal blog does not.
- Notability over time – According to Wikipedia, it is a wiki that serves as a “lagging indicator of notability.” That means it only will allow for articles on topics that have already become notable to “the outside world” by being reported on news sites. Briefly trending topics or quickly fading fads typically do not meet Wikipedia’s notability requirements. Even when covered by reliable and legitimate sources, individuals for whom coverage is limited to a single event also usually are not considered notable by Wikipedia. In other words, if you want to have your page approved, you need to make the news consistently.
- Appearance in non-promotional sources – Wikipedia requires publication in reliable sources of information for establishing notability. However, it also notes such coverage is not always “good evidence” of notability. It explains that articles that feature self-promotion, product placement, and most paid material are not “valid routes” for achieving notability. In other words, a person or brand is not considered notable based on user-generated media. The citations that will work for Wikipedia need to come from an unbiased, independent source.
Wikipedia makes it clear that establishing notability does not require “fame, importance, or popularity.” Still, it acknowledges that meeting those criteria may increase a person’s chance of getting a page.
Creating a Wikipedia page for your business requires establishing independent coverage
The fact that Wikipedia confirms notability by the existence of independent media coverage does not mean that those without such coverage are not notable. Brands that have not achieved notoriety outside of their industry or individuals who are gaining influence but have yet to become well known could be considered notable while not yet having been “discovered” or covered by the media. This can often be the case for individuals who have achieved popularity on social media outlets.
For notable people and brands who have yet to gain media attention, establishing independent coverage is an essential step in obtaining a Wikipedia page. Public relations firms are an excellent resource for getting media placements in independent sources. PR firms maintain relationships with credible news sources covering a wide variety of industries, streamlining the process of pitching potential news stories that promote or involve their clients. PR firms can also help clients to understand how their brand fits in with current news and how to engage with the media in a way that attracts positive attention.
Creating a page requires complying with Wikipedia’s terms
Once a notable subject has established a portfolio of independent media coverage, the final step is drafting a Wikipedia page that complies with the guidelines Wikipedia provides. While anyone can serve as an editor and post information to Wikipedia, professional Wikipedia editors can be hired to ensure that material is presented in a way that complies with guidelines.
For those who choose to develop a page on their own, Wikipedia advises you to employ a “neutral, objective tone,” to cite sources “even if you are confident a statement is true,” avoid “promotional language.” Wikipedia also strictly forbids plagiarism, advising that contributors cite all information taken from other sources, including information “that you are sure is in the public domain.”
Before hiring anyone to assist you in obtaining a Wikipedia page, make sure that you get a guarantee that the page will not only go up, but stay up. While anyone can publish information to Wikipedia, information is regularly reviewed and often removed for violating one or more of the Wikipedia guidelines. Wikipedia reports that its editors remove more than 200 articles every day, many of them due to problems with notability. Typically, once a page is published and has been live on Wikipedia for six months, it is considered permanent.
Do you need to create a Wikipedia account to create a Wikipedia page for my business?
Creating an account is optional. If you goal is to become active as a Wikipedia editor, having your own account is a good idea. It allows you to have your own user page, where you can provide information about yourself and the work that you have done. It also makes it easier for you to connect with other editors.
If your only goal is to get your page up, having an account can help because it makes you easier for Wikipedia’s editors to contact with you. It also provides you with alerts if someone makes an edit to your page or if information that you provide for your page is disputed.
Should I use the article wizard to format my Wikipedia article?
If you doubt your abilities, the Article Wizard can help you create your own wiki page. Successfully creating your page requires that the information fit Wikipedia’s format. Wikipedia warns that articles not “formatted, referenced or in Simple English” are often deleted. The Article Wizard walks editors through step-by-step through a process designed to result in content that is eligible for a Wikipedia page.
If your plan is to create a user page that promotes yourself, using the Article Wizard is definitely recommended. Wikipedia says pages that serve as “biographies of living people” are the most difficult to get approved. It recommends that editors practice for such a challenge by creating an easier article for review or by submitting valuable edits for a page that already exists.
What are things to avoid when creating a company page?
Getting published on Wikipedia is a great goal for your brand. But are you ready to have a page published? Wikipedia’s “things to avoid” list provides some great guidance for those who are not sure if they qualify.
- Wikipedia is not for advertising. A page’s purpose must be more than promoting a brand if it is to survive on Wikipedia. It is not a place for business owners to share press releases.
- Wikipedia is not for attacks. If you have something bad to say about someone or something, Wikipedia encourages you to find somewhere else to share it.
- Wikipedia is not a place to share your ideas. In its words, it is a place for “existing human knowledge.” Your new ideas need to have significant coverage in reliable news outlets before they are ready for Wikipedia.
- Wikipedia is not your sandbox. Basically, Wikipedia believes that if you or your business is notable, someone else will create the your page. That does not mean you should not create a Wikipedia page for a brand that you are associated with. It just means that the content must be truly valuable information that goes beyond boosting the SEO for your company name.
Are there professionals who can help you establish eligibility and get a page?
The road to obtaining a Wikipedia page can be long, even after the necessary prep work is completed. Wikipedia says it regularly has nearly 3,000 new articles under review, with the review process often taking months. Doing the necessary work of establishing notability on the front end can ensure that months of waiting result in an approved page. Hiring a PR firm will provide you with reliable resources for assessing the possibility of success, progressing methodically through the process, and ultimately publishing your page.