Wikipedia is ugly. Hardly any pictures, no colors, no uniquely developed, award-winning corporate fonts, which clearly reflect the values of one's own company through a very cleverly designed curved R. And yet this is exactly where many companies want to be. Why is that?
Because you can't buy Wikipedia.
But let's start at the beginning: Wikipedia almost always appears at the top of search results; that’s old news. All target groups are on Wikipedia - whether it’s investors, applicants or customers. But the most important thing is and remains credibility: Wikipedia is a community project that is based on voluntariness, it’s a self-controlling system, and is therefore not a communication channel, but a social network.
The first two points, search engine placement and target group diversity, result from credibility. This is not only essential for the Wikipedia project. It must also be in the interest of the companies that want to be active on here.
Companies must defend Wikipedia against abuse!
Hold on. Stop! Become active? The Wikipedia community doesn't like to hear that. In fact, parts of the community reject paid writing altogether. This is understandable because Wikipedia is a small democracy. To digress into political science for a moment: Not all interests can be represented equally well; classic examples are children, senior citizens or job seekers. Companies, on the other hand, have an easier time asserting their interests with the help of their human and financial resources. This results in some of the biggest problems that our welfare state tries to absorb, no question! But to reject representation of interests categorically and therefore renounce technical expertise is not the solution. The solution is transparency and compliance with the rules. This applies to the big democracy as well as to the small Wikipedia democracy.
Because even on Wikipedia, there is the possibility for companies to become active in a transparent way. And that is the top priority! Because in order not to tear down the advantages you want to use yourself, you must protect them. As consultants, it is our job to point out again and again to respect the rules of Wikipedia and to defend them against abuse. This doesn't solve all problems,but at least we don't have to go against our personal convictions and - especially important for our customers – we protect their reputation.This also applies to being a democrat, but we digress. So how can companies actively participate in Wikipedia?
Golden rules for companies on Wikipedia
- Make verified accounts the standard: By clearly naming and verifying the corporate account, it is transparently identified to the community as a "Paid Editor".
- Use transparency notices: A clear commitment to comply with the rules and the disclosure of one's own claim and mission on the account page additionally increases transparency.
- Follow the notability guidelines: All changes made by a company must refer to sources that meet Wikipedia's relevance criteria. If you comply with this, you basically do not need to be scared of the community!
- Discuss actively: Simple updates of figures, data and facts are usually accepted by the community without discussion, after all there are too few authors, and it also has an interest in keeping everything up to date. However, major changes or - in the company's opinion - misrepresentations may not simply be changed. The solution: Changes can be suggested and discussed on the discussion page, which are then incorporated by the community itself or the change is at least accepted by the company. In the English Wikipedia this is always the way to proceed, otherwise the account may be blocked. By the way, discussing sometimes also means accepting rejection of the opposition, if they give good reasons. If not, the community still has the upper hand and the discussion must continue until they are convinced.
- Take a neutral stand: Anyone who wants to use Wikipedia as a communication channel is in the wrong place. Good communication is rewarded by a neutral (!) mention on Wikipedia, bad communication is punished! So, if you are discussed publicly - for example in newspaper articles - you can point to these references and thus make facts visible on Wikipedia as well or enter a discussion with the community. Those who do not manage to protect their own reputation may reap negative headlines. And these may then be mentioned by the community on Wikipedia. This cannot be prevented and should serve much more as motivation to improve one's own communication. In this way, Wikipedia can also be seen as an evaluation of one's own communication performance.
By the way, it is also possible to create a completely new article, but not on your own. All these rules apply here as well, except that the notability guidelines for an article must first be met. And: nothing works without the community. If you want to present yourself on the web in an exclusively positive and self-determined way, you can let us consult you on the development of your own website.Wikipedia is not suitable for this.
Consulting by saying "no”
Pessimists don’t find it difficult to adopt a cautious or dismissive attitude. But the wishes and ideas of our customers are often quite understandable. It's not just a matter of aesthetic or stylistic demands; it's not uncommon for facts in Wikipedia to be wrong. But is there a source that provides neutral proof? Consulting services include taking the position of the community, critically questioning the wishes, and often saying "no". The solution is that we will then gladly advise and accompany you in your credible communication. The result is a public perception that convinces even neutral players. Then the community will say "yes!" as well and Wikipedia will remain a place of longing for companies in the future.