Wikipedia is a top 10 website on the internet. It means that when people search for a brand or property development, they will look on Google first, and Wikipedia next.

As a marketer, it may be tempting to set up or edit pages yourself. But this can have drastic consequences, tarnishing brands, being banned from Wikipedia and doing far more harm than good, with the bad publicity that follows.

So, with help from the CIPR Wikipedia best practice guide, here are our top tips for approaching the site in marketing.

Avoid writing about yourself

Wikipedia pride themselves on their neutral point of view policy. An article should not promote you (or the brand), it should take into account both the good, the bad and the ugly.

Even if you were to create or edit a page, the chances are it will be deleted within minutes of creation. It will be super obvious and flagged to the editors.

This doesn’t mean you can’t create a page or edit within the site itself. You just have to make sure all editing is carried out honestly and in an open manner.

Avoid editing the competition too

There is a fierce rivalry between competitors in business. You might be thinking editing their Wikipedia page will make you look better, but you’d likely come worse off.

Wikipedia is not there for marketers to influence their client’s image – if you have something you want to say about a brand then send your request to Wikipedia themselves who will edit it accordingly.

How do you go about that? Simply go to the ‘Talk page‘ and it’ll alert the editors to your request.

Reference everything

Wikipedia makes it clear that they require inline citations for all and any material as well as all quotations. They want each point or fact made through Wikipedia to be seen as a reliable source of information so all references, therefore, have to be reliable too.

This is a good thing and means that if you do want to edit a page, and will actually be truthful in what you write, you shouldn’t have any problem at all in backing it up.

Dealing with disputes

If edit wars are taking place and a dispute is ongoing you can ask for a page to be protected. According to CIPR there are various stages in this process, from full protection, where only a Wikipedia administrator can make an edit, to semi-protection, where only Wiki editors who have been registered on the site for more than four days and have made at least ten edits are allowed to make changes.

Again, as with edit requests, you can ask to protect a page on the ‘Talk page’, but as always, you must present your case for why it should be so.

To find out more, download Best Practice Guidance for free.