Wikipedia is amazing: a plethora of information at your finger tips. Let’s face it, my kids will probably think an encyclopedia is a large coaster by the time they are in middle school. A client had asked us to submit their business to Wikipedia. I knew this would be a challenge as most businesses on Wikipedia are the large corporations like Coca Cola, GE, Ford, etc, you get the idea. Wikipedia is a lot like Facebook, getting a straightforward answer on how to do something is difficult. Essentially, you search Wikipedia to find out how to use Wikipedia and then click though from one link to another until you have found the answer.

Submitting this was tricky, it had to sound authentic and like an encyclopedia entry, straightforward, and unbiased. They had their PR company write up the entry, I figured out the convoluted coding system and we submitted it for approval by users. It was declined again and again for a total of three times. What makes this entry complicated is that it is technically a business, but more than anything it is a location. Not like Starbucks on 3rd Ave, but an entire community. So how does one make an entry similar to this one and have it approved?

Here is what we learned:
  1. Do your research- find similar people, topics etc on Wikipedia and learn from them, hey, if they are posted, they were approved!
  2. Use references- entries are approved by other users, you need to show that what you are posting is legitimate. Link to articles, press releases, etc.
  3. Don’t use adjectives- any words describing a person, place, or thing in a positive of negative way can come across as promotion (or sabotage), either way, it will be declined.
  4. Use links to other Wikipedia topics
  5. Follow their format- there is a format/language to Wikipedia. It is not unlike HTML, but it is easy to learn, you just need to take the time to read the articles on Wikipedia to figure out how to do it.
Bottom line, our next try will have no adjectives, lots of references, and a celebration at the end when it finally is approved!


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