85 percent of brand pages on Wikipedia need improvement

by David King on Jun 14, 2012
See top industry experts speak at Social Fresh 2018 / Dec. 5-7
Where social marketers go to get inspired. Speakers include BET, American Cancer Society, 5/3 Bank, Duke University, Sallie Mae, IBM, Darden, Georgia State University, Chris Brogan, Brian Fanzo, Ekaterina Walter, and more.
>> Reserve your seat today

fox-entertainment-group-wikipediaWikipedia articles define our company’s brand, heritage, leadership and culture for the internet.

They’re important.

But Wikipedia has thousands of them and about four million articles in all. According to a new study published today, 90 percent of brand pages on Wikipedia are marked as low or medium priority by the Wikipedia community.

The study analyzes over 2,500 Wikipedia articles on brands to gain insights into the community’s content needs on company articles.

Fox Entertainment Group, LG Corporation, Playtex and the Pepsi Bottling Group are among brand pages marked as important, but also incomplete or low in quality.

One Japan-owned, $200 billion company only has two paragraphs on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is content marketing

Wikipedia editing has been controversial, because it’s open model leaves it vulnerable to companies using it for censorship and advertising, but ethical Wikipedia engagement isn’t that different from any other form of content marketing.

Whether it’s blogging, social media, public relations, whitepapers or the company website, our job is to create great content the reader wants. However, each form of marketing has a unique delivery method, content need, reader-set and other details – as does Wikipedia.

When companies transparently offer great content to Wikipedia’s editorial community, the controversy is gone and we’re left with content marketing. But what are Wikipedia’s content needs?

The findings of the report suggest that:

  • The most common request for improvement on brand pages has to do with providing credible, third-party sources to draw content from. Every company should at least share news articles as sources on the Talk page to make it easier for volunteers to improve the page.
  • For company articles, objectives like heritage, branding and corporate identity are better-aligned with Wikipedia’s content needs, though bigger companies will often have separate Wikipedia articles for products.
  • When trying to correct bias, companies should focus on being reasonable and easy to work with, rather than appealing to the accountability of editors.

Call to action

Most companies underperform on Wikipedia when compared to other marketing channels, creating an opportunity for some marketing executives to greatly outperform their peers and gain a competitive advantage through innovative marketing.

This requires a serious discussion on objectives, priorities and a strategic plan for ethical Wikipedia engagement that’s well-aligned with Wikipedia’s content needs.

It’s my position that sustainable, long-term value with Wikipedia will come from mutually beneficial, transparent collaborations that help Wikipedia achieve its mission of providing free and impartial knowledge. The best way for us to do that is quite simple – provide great content Wikipedia’s readers want to its editors.

Post Author

David King is the founder of Ethical Wiki, a professional services organization that helps companies improve Wikipedia ethically by offering content, requesting corrections and discussing controversies. Learn more at ethicalwiki.com or read our eBook on Wikipedia & marketing....