9 Things Wikipedia Can Teach You About Content Marketing

by | May 16, 2012

Think about it.

Wikipedia articles on a company get more views, shares and syndication than the company fact sheet. The Wikipedia article on your executive get more eyeballs than the company-written bio. Even the Wikipedia articles on your products probably see more monitors than the product brochures.

I spend a lot of time telling clients what type of content Wikipedia’s community will appreciate. Am I really telling them what this nebulous, large and complex communal entity Wikipedia wants, or simply what Wikipedia’s readers, your stakeholders want.

After all, isn’t the success of Wikipedia just a case study of good content marketing?

What Can We Learn?

Why do so many people read Wikipedia and how can we emulate that?

Here’s ten things about content, marketing and community we can learn from Wikipedia.

1. How to share: Sharing an article about your own company with thousands of anonymous internet volunteers just might be more intimate than sharing toothbrushes and challenging than kids sharing toys.

2. Free content: Free text AND images are one of the top reasons Wikipedia is so successful. Want people to share and use your content? Make sure it’s free.

3. Encyclopedic tone: Wikipedia’s requirements for encyclopedic tone brings most marketers to their knees. Just when you think you’re steering away from marketing speak, you’re only halfway to encyclopedic tone.

4. Convenience > authority: Factual mistakes on Wikipedia have been well documented, but the truth is readers favor convenience over authority and rarely double-check misinformation on Wikipedia.

5. Content is King: But you already know that

6. Get Underground: One of the great things about Wikipedia is it gives the reader this underground perspective on how customers and other stakeholders perceive the brand.

7. Create an Internet Mosaic: Wikipedia brings together tiny colored shared on a topic spread all over the internet and puts them together in a single place to create a complete mosaic. The internet is a messy place. Putting everything in one place has value.

8. You Don’t Own the Brand: Your customers do. At least on Wikipedia they do. You can say whatever you want about your brand. So can your customers. Earn your brand from them.

9. Work with Others: We’re not use to collaborating with outside individuals we have no control over or affiliation with, but welcome to Wikipedia. A valid skill for any kind of community-building.

Image source: Bigstock.com Baby with book

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