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Wikipedia and Businesses: Tips for Building a Credible Page

Think of it — your business in Wikipedia. Wouldn’t it be grand? What could be better than seeing your company with its own listing alongside the biggies, like Apple and Microsoft?

Believe it or not, you can have it. But, writing a Wikipedia about yourself or your business is a tricky proposition. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Factual, neutral, accurate and written in an encyclopedic style, Wikipedia does not allow self-promotion.

So how can you go about creating an awesome Wikipedia article for yourself or your company and follow the rules at the same time? Here’s what you need to know.

What’s It All About?

Wikipedia was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in January 2001. It’s safe to say that Wikipedia has grown since then. In fact, it’s huge. With over 100,000 regular participants from around the world, you can find information about anything from cats to past and present world leaders. A Wikipedia article, such as the entry on Cary Kochman’s Wikipedia page, must be written in a formal, just-the-facts style. Essays, provocative statements and opinion pieces are not permitted.

Why Have a Wikipedia Page?

Yes, you want a Wikipedia business page, but did you know there are lots of great reasons for having one aside from the fame and glory? You probably already know that a business page on Wikipedia lends credibility. A well-written page may, in fact, convince users to give your company a try. Did you know that Google’s Knowledge Graph sources Wikipedia for most of its information? That alone helps solidify your online reputation.

On the other hand, it’s a bad sign if someone searches for your company and the results say “Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name.” So, aside from your desire to want to look like one of the big guys, having a Wikipedia page is an important tool for businesses and professionals.

Are You Notable Enough?

Wikipedia content must meet notability standards to merit a separate entry. Notability can be difficult to understand and achieve, particularly for small businesses. It’s not enough to be known in your local region to attain a standalone Wikipedia entry. According to Wikipedia, notability requires that articles meet specific requirements.

“If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list.”

What do those terms mean? See the definitions below:

  • Significant Coverage: The topic must be addressed in direct and comprehensive detail so that no original research is required.
  • Reliable Sources: Reliable sources are those that maintain a high-level of editorial integrity. Acceptable sources include published works in any and all media formats in any language.
  • Secondary Sources: In addition to reliable sources, secondary sources are expected. Secondary sources include printed publications and references not necessarily available online.
  • Independent of Subject: Sources must not have any affiliation with the subject. For example, your company’s press release, website content or any other company affiliated material is not allowed.
  • Presumed: Presumed means that reliable sources have covered the subject in question in significant detail. Presumption does not guarantee inclusion, however.

If all this seems like a bit much for your small business, all is not lost. Take a deep breath. It’s not as difficult as it seems.

What’s a Small Business to Do?

Small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs have a particularly difficult time meeting Wikipedia notability guidelines. Follow these steps to add notability to your article:

  1. Include Citations: Have any media outlets or publications talked about you or your business? Include media coverage, books and large-scale media attention of any kind as a citation. Local newspaper mentions probably won’t be considered a significant citation, but nationally syndicated newspapers and magazines most likely will. Use as many legitimate citations as you can. Citations should come from neutral, independent sources, and not from your own website or publications. Try to come up with at least four.
  2. Add Achievements: You can toot your horn a little, if you’re careful, in the known for/achievements section. Acceptable achievements do not include last year’s fantastic sales figures. To qualify as an achievement, the event has to have made a difference outside the company itself. Has your company developed a technique or product that saves lives? That’s an achievement. You can also make note of awards, product development breakthroughs and media events in the achievement section.
  3. Discuss Research. Has your organization published any white papers on conflict resolution skills or studies on cloud technology? List them on your Wikipedia page. They’ll help you brand yourself as a thought leader.

Wikipedia fame is yours if you strictly follow the guidelines, stay away from self-promotion and constantly monitor the page for inaccuracies. That’s the price of glory.

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