Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast
Wikipedia, which was founded in June 2003 in Florida, is what many consider the world’s free encyclopedia or the number one library in the sky. It’s an asset some people take for granted despite it usually being one of the first results when searching something, but through a simple donation to the Wikimedia Foundation, you can help sustain it, as more and more journalist portals like Wikipedia along with The Guardian and The Independent are becoming subscriber-funded instead of advertiser-funded, so donations really are a big help. Apart from that, a Wikipedia website for your company is something that is of great value.
The Wikipedia group has 450 staff and contractors supporting the Wikimedia projects, communities, donors, and readers. The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects, and their mission is "to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain and to disseminate it effectively and globally." SPEAK|pr always talks about the hero of a story, and in this case, the Wikimedia Foundation focuses on how they empower people with free knowledge, making these people their heroes. Based on the 53 million media files on the Wikimedia Commons website, which is the free media repository, they have no doubt succeeded in their mission.
According to SimilarWeb which analyses websites, every month, there are 1 billion unique device visitors to Wikipedia. Their global rank is number seven, and in the USA, they rank ninth, but the category for reference materials is where Wikipedia really holds its own, as it is number one in the world. Website visitors come from 252 countries, with 24.44% of the visitors coming from America, followed by the UK, Germany, and Japan with about 5% each, and Russia at 4.43%. The average visit duration is 3.54 minutes, and it’s just under three pages per visit. It’s an astonishing repository, but it’s also an amazingly sticky journal for people to go to.
In their finance report, which is audited by KPMG in San Francisco, the balance sheet for the Wikimedia Foundation in the summer of 2020 stands at $191,262,962, up from $176,119,709 in 2019. It’s reassuring that a project that is designed and built around contributed content, which is of integrity and without promotional material, has such a global rank in terms of the reference materials, but has also managed to become a profitable center, making it sustainable. Rockefeller, the great industrialist, used to say that charities should always make money, not because it is a money-making entity, but to show that it is run in a sustainable way. And for one to be a proper charity and solve problems at a systemic level, Rockefeller always contributed money to charities which were self-financing and profitable. That’s from the book Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow.
How your company can have its own page on Wikipedia
A company having its own Wikipedia page is similar to getting into the encyclopedia, but it is possible and free. What one has to do first is establish credibility and also take part in being an author and editor of other content online. In other words, this is participatory. It’s not a website that you buy space and post or that you just apply to the editor and they post on your behalf. You self-publish, but the content has to have citations. The first step to all this is creating an account. Next, you look for a pop-up box that says ‘Help improve Wikipedia,’ and this is the participatory part or the threshold that you have to cross over to ensure that your intentions are genuine and that you’re really trying to contribute to the overall mission of sharing knowledge and not just trying to promote yourself or your company.
The next step is becoming an auto-confirmed user. The Wikipedia guidelines for auto-confirmed users say that you have to have an account that is more than four days old, and you’ve had to have made at least 10 edits that have been confirmed by other editors on other articles to prove that you’re a source a reference or credit. Naturally, you can’t just go in and change the "and"s and put in four stops; you need to go in and actually edit something of importance. There will be links so that you can edit articles, and then it’ll update the article and display you as an editor. Once you are confirmed as a contributor, you will then be able to create your own page, and it will ask you to go to the ‘Writing an article’ page. You can scroll down, and then it shows you an ‘article wizard’ for you to create your own articles. Here, you can start writing on your own or follow their template which consists of writing a two-sentence company overview, information, history, and then whatever else you want people to know about the company, and ideally, you’ve got all your content ready in advance.
To get on Wikipedia, make sure you are credible
Critical to Wikipedia is that whatever you enter is true and that it has citations, not from your own social media, but from third party websites, newspapers, journalists, or other authorities, which is why people go to Wikipedia, because there is this integrity and due diligence in the content. To be on the website, one has to play by the same rules just as an academic article will establish the authority to a business or product.
After crafting the content for Wikipedia, it is then submitted for review. Once it’s approved, it will finally be uploaded as an official page. However, this is not the end of it, as a Wikipedia page needs to be updated from time to time. You might head up the rankings, because Google indexes Wikipedia, but you do need to update your content, or else your Google and Wikipedia will be outdated. Even if you’re updating your social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even your own website, the Wikipedia page comes up in advance of those, so you could be in a position where your Wikipedia page is out of date and people are reading information that’s no longer valid. So, it’s an engagement and a task that one has to be committed to taking on permanently.
Overall, it’s a pretty simple process to getting your own Wikipedia page. Also, if you get the chance, make a contribution. After all, it’s the world’s free encyclopedia or library, and everyone enjoys the benefits of what the Wikimedia Foundation have put online. More importantly, the youth are too, so it’s not just a good investment for a company, but for the younger generations who are using it and will use it, and so Wikipedia is the best library card you could ever pass to the next generation. With it, you can be a part of the global program to share free and accurate information around the world. So, keep on learning and sharing, possibly on Wikipedia.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.
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