Companies and organizations invest in media strategies to create brand awareness. Industry professionals widely accept that one of the key measurements of success is media clippings. We herald earned media as an important pillar of a communications and branding program because it boosts the visibility of the brand name. Media clippings typically end up in the electronic pressroom archives. But there is another place where those media clippings can be visible and useful. They can persist on the other earned media platform – Wikipedia.
A sample of a reference section containing primarily quality secondary sources
On Wikipedia, media clippings are valuable currency for Wikipedia articles. The better the media clipping, the more trustworthy and reliable the content is on the Wikipedia article. The policy on Wikipedia is that content must be supported by a reliable source. Wikipedia's reliable sources guideline describes the three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The most reliable source is a secondary source, meaning content that is first and foremost not self-authored nor self-published (i.e., not from the company website or a blog). Primary and tertiary sources are acceptable in limited cases, but to guarantee content won't be disallowed on the basis of sourcing, make sure to base most of the content from secondary sources like news articles (not press releases) and books. To help teams rethink the value of the archives of media clippings, we outlined 4 questions to assess if your media clippings are Wikipedia-ready.
1. How many years of coverage are stored in the media archives?
The most cohesive and complete Wikipedia articles present chronological context. This is done by the curation of media articles covering the time period being presented in the Wikipedia article and beyond. Being able to track the subject with a wide perspective allows for the division of content into meaningful eras and sections.
2. What kind of source is a syndicated press release?
Syndicated press releases are tricky to spot. They look and read like a news article, but much of the content is a reprint of a press release. Wikipedia policy rejects syndicated press as they cannot be considered reliable sources, and as such they should be removed from the collection.
An example of a syndicated press release
3. How detailed are the media clipping reports?
Wikipedia citation guidelines recommend that references include author/creator, publication name, date of publication, date of access, and title of article. Including this information facilitates fact-checking by other Wikipedia community members and helps preserve the citation in case of link rot and dead URLs. Improperly cited references, along with their associated content, can be removed from the Wikipedia article. Secondary sources are ideal because these are not self-authored or paid content.
The guidelines for citing web materials on Wikipedia
4. Which media clippings have functional URLs to the original media article?
Functioning URLs help Wikipedia article visitors and editors to do addition reference checking. Make sure the media clippings include URLs. If the URLs are not functional, they may be rejected. Unusable reference URLs can lead to removal of content from the Wikipedia article.
A Wikipedia citation flagged for a dead URL
Presenting the Wikipedia community with trustworthy, reliable references to support any new material is a big step in establishing good faith and also facilitates any potential content disputes. Preparing media clippings according to the above criteria gives a real advantage in creating Wikipedia content with real longevity.