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Yes, You Can Use Wikipedia for Marketing: 6 Ways to be Effective

Remember when Wikipedia was created and it was the bees-knees when it came to finding information quick on anything without having to sort through a million Google search results? How about when you realized that you couldn’t cite Wikipedia as a credible source of information in any college papers, blog posts or research studies due to its user-edited nature? (That was a bummer). Turns out, Wikipedia is still good for something: marketing and branding (believe it or not). Wikipedia pro David King tells us six reasons and how to do it below:

Using Wikipedia to market your small biz. It’s a common inquiry with an often unwelcomed response. But pay attention: organizations that don’t meet Wikipedia’s notability requirements won’t be successful on the site. Notability rules apply to any subject, when creating a new wiki. In a nutshell, notability on Wikipedia = authoritative third party sources (not created by you) of biographical information.

Tip: An interesting perspective–invest in web “properties” like your own real estate properties, and think of Wikipedia as the location.

What influences notability on Wikipedia? The most common form of notability comes from media coverage. A company with a good PR function usually qualifies.

How do I make sure no one edits my entry for the worst? Use the Watch button to create your own “controversy” sections when the community will do it anyways. Monitoring & response + creating your own controversy section instead of letting others create a biased version. You can explain in that section things about your brand that people may attack and use it for clarifying purposes before someone attacks you first.

Value from Wikipedia for your search and branding efforts. Wikipedia is often the 2nd hit on Google just behind the corporate site. That represents a huge investment imbalance. Wikipedia literally defines who the company is and the public perception of who they are since its openly editable. So, we need to define ourselves and generate links where appropriate. A wiki on a Fortune 500 company might get a few million hits over three years, but the traffic on subjects important to them is immense. If you own 30+% of a market, you want to influence how people perceive that product category. Many Wikis read like buyers guides. Yours can too if that is your goal.

How to measure traffic from Wikipedia. Google analytics will measure incoming referral traffic from Wikipedia. Some organizations get big numbers there.

Tip: Turns out, Wikipedia is one of the holy grails of SEO and increases back-linking numbers and also the opportunity to create your own in-links, according to Josh Bachynski and David King. However, be wary: it requires good tact and judgment. Back-links need to be an improvement to the Wiki that the community will allow (both directly and indirectly, in terms of link outs, and in terms of human and Google brand recognition). Wikipedia is certainly the “most overlooked” aspect of social media marketing and search engine optimization.

Where your wiki page should be in search engine results pages (SERPs). A Wiki should not beat out the corporate site on search results. Second place in search results is a great place for a Wiki to be, assuming the Wiki is actually good. It depends on the brand, and the company – whatever Google thinks is a better authority will outrank, Wiki often is.

For fun: Wikipedia’s Wikipedia entry

Secrets of Wikipedia.  There are more rules on Wikipedia than any one person could possibly know. They also change and are different across languages. The biggest thing everyone needs to know about Wikipedia is to follow the rules. Read them. Love them. Follow them.

The good uses of WIkipedia: branding, SEO, crisis communication, influence. The bad: lead gen.

We’re off to edit our Wikipedia page with these great tips from David King, our latest guest on #PRWebChat. How about you?

David King is a Silicon Valley transplant with experience in customer reference, PR, social media marketing and whitepaper writing exclusively for B2B companies with complex products. Over the years, he’s gained an expertise in Wikipedia, which requires a combination of community engagement, Wiki-knowledge and coding that is a rare find amongst marketers. Visit his blog here.

(Photo Credit – Flickr Creative Commons: quartermane)

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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