How marketers and PR professionals can contribute to Wikipedia – Part 2

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Important don'ts for marketing and public relations professionals to practice on Wikipedia.

This is the second part of a three-part series by Manan Shah, on important refrains for public relations professionals and marketers contributing to Wikipedia. The first part covered basic guidelines and the third would cover important dos.

The Wikipedia community usually has apprehensions about marketing and PR professionals contributing to Wikipedia as their motives are in conflict with the basic principle of neutrality. Here are a few wiki-etiquettes — guidelines for marketing executives for things to avoid or refrain from doing.


Be bold 

Wikipedia encourages every editor to “Be bold” and to not be afraid to edit content. But as a PR professional, do not directly edit topics related to your clients, organisations, or brands. As your motive could be suspected to be the promotion of your clients, request on the Talk pages that the necessary edits be made.

Create new articles

Do not create a new page from scratch for the company or client by yourself. Chances are there would be a good reason for the page not existing on Wikipedia. Use the “Request article” option  to notify Wikipedia editors that such an article be created.

Fight, argue, or abuse 

If a request for edits is rejected, do not get into a fighting match with fellow Wikipedians. Try to discuss amicably with them and raise your points about why your edits/ content are important for the article. Value addition is one of the most important requirements from marketers. Refrain from making personal insults or attacks or threats to Wikipedians for their edits. Remember, no one has personal animosity with you. Like PR professionals want to safeguard the interests of their clients, Wikipedians want to safeguard the interests of the platform.

Pay for edits:

Paid editing is completely taboo on Wikipedia. Paid editing is a form of advocacy or promotion of a topic or subject, which contradicts Wikipedia’s policies of avoiding conflict of interest and adopting a neutral point of view. Also, advertising for paid editing is completely prohibited.

Promote/ Advertise

Don't use Wikipedia to promote or advertise your employer or client. It’s a knowledge sharing platform, an online encyclopaedia, not a marketing instrument to channelise profits for your brand.

Include the name of your brand/ company

Avoid using the brand, product, or company name in your username, signature, or on your profile page. It’s promotional and is quite likely to get you blocked from editing all the Wikimedia websites.

Remove negative content

Wikipedia aims to provide information on any topic with a neutral point of view. If there are negative or controversial comments from reliable sources on a topic that involves your company or client, you cannot remove them from the article. If you believe the topic is unfairly represented or biased, raise your concern on the corresponding talk page. Seek consensus from fellow editors to bring about neutrality in the article. Remember, Wikipedia is not a place for “righting great wrongs”.

Information sources and Bibliography:

Basic etiquette for interaction with fellow Wikipedians
Wikipedia guidelines and policy 
Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)
Public Relations Society of America

Cross posted at DNA India.



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