7 Steps of a Wikipedia Strategy
A Wikipedia strategic plan is more than just updating the company and CEO’s Wikipedia articles. Creating the strategy is a cooperation of branding, communications, and data analytics teams. Each team contributes ideas, data, and insights to determine the Wikipedia articles that are most relevant for goals such product-brand association, topic-brand association, and overall brand visibility.
Step One: Assess Macro Trends and Topics
Every company has a set of branding and communications priorities. This is especially true when aligned with product road maps. Those priorities are also known as macro trends. For example, an industrial manufacturer’s branding priorities were associated with smart grid, China, smart cities, and building automation. The macro trends and topics are necessary for Step 5.
Step Two: Assess Google Keyword Search and Knowledge Graph
It is well known that Wikipedia appears in top search engine results. What may be overlooked is Wikipedia also appears in Google’s Knowledge Graph. For the results that appear in organic keyword searches, the Wikipedia article also appears. This means there is 1:1 visibility of the company’s Wikipedia article [in the Knowledge Graph] along with the company website on search results. Although the Knowledge Graph is cited by digital assistants, (Siri, Google, Alexa) the impression data is unaccounted for via traditional analytics, and could account for a larger set of impressions we can’t quantify at this time.
Step Three: Assess Social Media
Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube impressions and engagement analytics present a snapshot. Those analytics do not represent the big picture. Specifically, social media has such a short shelf life (less than 24 hours) whereas Wikipedia articles persist over many years. By tabulating Wikipedia impressions and then comparing them to social media impressions, it becomes easy to understand that the long-term value of Wikipedia far surpasses that of social media.
Step Four: Assess Infographics
Infographics are valuable because they provide insight and brand association. The long-term value of the infographic is perpetual on the Wikipedia article. In a hypothetical scenario, when a user searches a topic such as “Turbocharger”, then visits the Wikipedia article, the global forecast of the turbocharger infographic is visible to the visitor.
Step Five: Determine Wikipedia Articles
The list of macro trends helps to identify the Wikipedia articles for the Wikipedia program. In the example cited above, the macro topics of Smart Grid in China, Smart Grid, and Building Automation all have Wikipedia articles. The intent here is to confirm that visitors of those Wikipedia articles will see the company’s brand, relevant encyclopedic content, and infographics. The number of visitors of the articles is not as important as the realization Wikipedia has strong link authority on search engines.
Step Six: Confirm Insights
Different teams contribute each component of the Wikipedia strategic plan, therefore it’s important to confirm the insights are accurate and aligned with company priorities. The branding team confirms the macro trends and topics. The web analytics team confirms macro trend keywords have Wikipedia articles with top ranked search results. The marketing communications and media relations teams confirm the infographics and third-party media articles support the encyclopedic content that will provide context about the topic. Confirming insights across teams helps to reaffirm buy-in when the Wikipedia program launches.
Step Seven: Present the Plan
Wikipedia once was considered a questionable source for information. Eighteen years later, Wikipedia has proven to be the #1 online reference site. Its strong link authority, consistent growth with new encyclopedic articles, and source for digital assistants (Siri, Google, Alexa) confirm it is a stable content platform for years to come. The Wikipedia strategic plan is intended to present how valuable Wikipedia is for brand management. On average, the company website is designed every 3 years. On Wikipedia, well-sourced content persists over 5 years.
Branding and communications teams are typically the stakeholders in a Wikipedia program. In the first two years of the initial Wikipedia program, there can be a high cost of resources. This is due to creating processes, measurement, and monitoring within the organization. Over time the cost of content, impressions, and updates decline over time. Wikipedia’s sustainability is dependent on contributed content. Ongoing content development of relevant topics fuels search engines and digital assistants. As search evolves from keywords to topic clusters and natural language, it’s worthwhile to experiment with a Wikipedia pilot program rather than wait until the technology matures. By that time, the landscape will already be more competitive and more expensive. Innovation is assuming a risk in an effort to realize an opportunity.