Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
One of the best ways to improve your brand’s credibility online is to have a Wikipedia page for your business or organization. Often, when people Google search for a company, Wikipedia is the first place they’ll go for information. So creating a Wikipedia page can also give you control over the narrative represented to the viewer. Wikipedia can also direct people to external links, which can increase traffic for your business.
Unfortunately, it’s not guaranteed that a Wikipedia page will be published after you submit it, but there is plenty you can do in preparation to help your case. While creating a business Wiki is not easy, it’s worth the effort for the brand awareness it can bring. Here are five tips to follow if you’re looking to establish a new Wikipedia page for your business.
Make sure the page doesn’t exist yet
While it should seem obvious, it’s crucial to do your research before diving into this hefty process. Check to ensure a page doesn’t already exist for your business or brand. Anyone can create and edit pages on Wikipedia, so there is a chance that a page could exist.
If this is the case, you’ll want to read it closely to identify any errors or areas of opportunity that deserve expansion. Luckily, it’s much easier to edit an existing Wikipedia page than it is to create one from scratch, so it’s a plus if someone has already done the hard work for you!
Make a Wikipedia account and generate credibility
If you’re starting from scratch, as most people do, you’ll need to begin by creating a Wikipedia account. You’ll need a username and password. Creating the account will also allow you to set up a brief profile. You can use this profile to highlight information on your brand and share a couple of photos.
Once your account is created, you don’t want to dive into building your business’s page immediately — odds are it will be rejected immediately, as your user doesn’t have any associated credibility. Instead, spend some time contributing to various articles on Wikipedia under your username so that the platform knows you can be trusted.
An excellent way to do this is to look for pages related to your industry and add brief, citable additions that relate to your company. For instance, if you’re in the lumber industry, link to a newspaper article or press release about your business on pages that make sense. Over time, your user reputation will grow.
Gather link resources for your page
As you’re building user credibility, you’ll want to start gathering as much digital information as possible that proves the notability of your business or brand — essentially anything that can be used as a citation, such as something you might have in a research paper. Things like newspaper articles that prominently feature your business, press releases, and other third-party sources are invaluable to ensuring that your citations succeed.
If you don’t have this documentation, work with a PR company or brand reputation company to start generating third-party materials about your business. This will likely take time but having sources beyond your website and social media are a must.
Create your page and submit it
Once you’ve built up credibility behind your username and gathered several notable citation sources, you can start building your page. As you would with a research paper, create a draft in Google Docs or Microsoft Word first and outline the structure of your page. It can be helpful to start with your table of contents (something every Wikipedia page has). Often, your information should be presented simply and chronologically — Wikipedia is, after all, an encyclopedia.
When you feel confident in your draft, you can upload your article to Wikipedia’s Article Wizard, where you’ll also need to include all of your citations. Ensure all your information is accurate, backed up by a third-party source and written originally (you can’t paraphrase or copy other text unless you’re directly quoting something).
Finally, after all of this hard work — and hopefully, numerous eyeballs on the article for proofreading and review — it’s time to submit it for review. It can be weeks or even months before you hear back, and it’s not unusual to be rejected the first time you submit an article. Don’t be disheartened; keep contributing to sources in your field, and adjust your article based on the feedback they give you.
Check your page regularly
When your page is finally accepted, your Wikipedia journey is not over. Because Wikipedia is open to everyone to edit, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your page to ensure there’s no misleading or inaccurate information being added to your page. An option allows you to “watch” the page so that you’re notified when changes are made.
If factually correct, yet negative, information is added to your Wikipedia page. You’ll be unable to do much about it — Wikipedia prides itself on being a neutral platform. However, having a brand presence on Wikipedia should provide great value to your business over time, as it presents credibility to viewers and can generate new traffic to your website.