Marketing and advertising have changed a lot over the last 20 or so years. We have seen the growth of the internet and its ability to act as a platform for a number of different unique marketing tactics. Businesses are starting to employ the use of social media as a way to both build up their brand and reach out to customers directly.
Mobile ads in apps account for a huge marketing gains for a variety of companies. But, there is one internet location where businesses have been flocking to market their products that may surprise you. Many businesses have begun using Wikipedia as a marketing tool which can be effective, but sometimes difficult.
Using Wikipedia as a Marketing Tool
Many businesses are using the platform of Wikipedia to market their brand and improve their sales. It is the fifth-most popular website on the internet, and more people use Wikipedia to research content than ever before. Of course, you might think of Wikipedia as the place where students get their information for school, but it the website has far greater implications outside the academic sphere.
Wikipedia’s popularity is obviously a major reason why companies have started using the platform to market their brands.
But, it’s not the only reason. Wikipedia is also a trusted resource that will show up more often than not higher on any relevant Google searches.
If people search your company’s name, then they are more than likely going to see your Wikipedia page before the encounter your official website. Additionally, more and more people are inclined to believe the content found on Wikipedia, because the website bills itself as an objective resource.
Google’s implementation of the “Knowledge Graph” has also caused an increase in creation of Wikipedia pages. Wikipedia is one of the main sources where Google pulls information to populate the knowledge graphs, along with sites such as Wikidata and Google+.
Using Wikipedia for Promotion Can Be Problematic
Of course, the Wikipedia guidelines very clearly state that using their platform as a promotional tool is against the rules. Wikipedia aims for complete neutrality and an article that looks like a promotional piece will likely be taken down.
If you use Wikipedia to spam senseless promotion, be prepared to have your article deleted. Writing in a promotional tone will lead to editors deleting the page.
Every Wikipedia article needs to be written in an unbiased tone with a bevy of relevant citations, but it can be hard to do that if you have any interest in the topic at hand.
A person from within a company may end up writing material for Wikipedia that is out-and-out positive. This, of course, can’t happen. Your Wikipedia marketing plan must include writing the article from a neutral point of view.
That’s why many businesses are counting on third-party Wikipedia editors to either create their Wikipedia pages from scratch or give them a little makeover. This is also a subject for debate in the Wikipedia community, and many volunteer editors have suggested that it is unethical for someone to be paid to write a Wikipedia page.
Either way, it’s still happening and will probably continue to happen. The website is just too important for the reputations of certain companies for it to be left out of most marketing strategies. The very reason why many companies now have a Wikipedia marketing plan to maintain their presence on the world’s 7th most visited website.
Wikipedia is also prone to vandalism, meaning that your company’s page can be filled with negative information with very little oversight. Thus, it’s important to keep an eye on your Wikipedia page if you use it for marketing. One bad story on your Wikipedia article could be a death sentence for your business. Of course, maintaining your Wikipedia page is always a great marketing strategy.