If you have never thought about adding Wikipedia to your marketing plan, you aren’t truly exploring all your marketing options. It is free to use and anyone can edit pages, i.e., add, remove, and change information. Wikipedia is the sixth most visited website in the world and almost always shows up on page one for Google searches. Although it receives criticism for not being accurate, it is still one of the first places people go to look up information.
With so many benefits of having a Wikipedia page, it can be tempting to get yourself or your firm included in the online encyclopedia. I would highly recommend doing so but there are a few things you need to know before you go and take the plunge.
Although anyone can edit Wikipedia, there are many rules that must be followed when creating a page. One of the most important rules you need to know is notability.
Notability is the gatekeeper to having a Wikipedia page. After all, not everyone should be included in an encyclopedia. It is not a directory or social media site and is not to be used as your personal website. It is an encyclopedia and entries within should be something you would see in an encyclopedia, not on Facebook or Twitter.
Unless you or your firm are notable, there is no reason to even try for inclusion on Wikipedia. Fact is, very few lawyers actually qualify for a Wikipedia page.
So Are You Notable Enough For Wikipedia?
According to Wikipedia, a page can be created “if a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.” [Emphasis added] Sounds like an easy guideline, but there are pages and pages of sub-guidelines which can convolute such an easy to understand sentence.
Here is a quick breakdown of what it actually means.
actually means exactly what it says. The coverage of the topic must be significant and in-depth. Brief mentions such as brand mentions or quotes are not acceptable for notability. Wikipedia feels that if the topic is deserving of a page, then news outlets would be talking about it in-depth.
are those which have an editorial over site, employing fact-checkers for its content. This includes much of the mainstream media but excludes many blogs and websites. Some blogs and websites are acceptable on a case by case basis, but generally sticking to the mainstream media is what Wikipedia considers reliable.
For a source to be independent, it cannot be related to the topic. Press releases, the official website of the topic, social media, or other self-published sources are excluded for the purpose of notability.
I already mentioned sub-guidelines for notability. In addition to the above, there are guidelines for individual topics. For instance, if you are creating a page on your firm, you will need to make sure it meets the notability guidelines for companies.
I Don’t Qualify. Is There An Alternative?
Absolutely. Digital media is endless. With Wikipedia, you are gaining both a branding and an SEO advantage. There are two other digital marketing techniques you can use which can give you a similar return on your investment.
The first is media outreach. Having your brand mentioned in a major publication puts your name in front of thousands (even millions) of people. Oftentimes, you will receive a link back to your website which will help with SEO.
Another way to help brand yourself and gain an SEO advantage is to guest post or become the go-to person on social media. I know what you are thinking, but guest posting is NOT dead. Don’t simply do it for a link, but rather to establish yourself as an authority in your field. This helps get your name out there and you will likely have a link from your author profile which helps with SEO.
When thinking about creating a Wikipedia page, make sure that you meet notability guidelines. Failure to do so can cause you problems down the road including having the page deleted and even protected from creation, i.e., you will not be able to recreate it without permission.
If you don’t qualify, I recommend putting your money into media outreach or begin authoring content as a guest poster to establish your authority. All of these methods are great alternatives to Wikipedia and can help establish your brand online.
Are you using Wikipedia in your marketing plan? Or maybe media outreach and/or guest posting is working for you? Please let us know in the comments below.