How Wikipedia Works

Wikipedia is maintained almost entirely by volunteer editors. Its community monitors itself; if someone makes an edit that damages an article, another user can undo it. Every edit is archived, so user actions can be traced. Each article and user profile has an accompanying “Talk” page where users can discuss the content and any conflicts that arise.
Image source: Matter.

Wikipedia forbids users with a conflict of interest from editing pages. Breaking this rule can result in a huge publicity black eye and a user ban. Instead, brand representatives are able to act in an advisory capacity to support Wikipedia’s goal of providing neutral and relevant information. PNConnect has extensive experience working with Wikipedia on behalf of brands and shaping the culture of cooperation between companies and Wikipedia.

When should a brand get involved on Wikipedia?

A brand’s Wikipedia page should be accurate, well-written and reasonably up-to-date, providing all the information about the brand that’s both relevant and notable. This is important for reputation management and search visibility. A brand’s Wikipedia page is almost always one of the first search results for its name. The better a page reflects the facts, the better it will inform visitors and create a positive and accurate brand association.
Wikipedia features prominently in brand
search results.

What brands can and can’t do

A brand representative on Wikipedia with reliable, neutral citation CAN REQUEST:

  • Correction of a factual error, providing citation for the accurate information.
  • The addition of relevant information, providing citation and suggested wording.
  • Creation of an article on a noteworthy topic, providing a first draft with sources.

A brand representative on Wikipedia CANNOT:

  • Repeat a rejected request to try to get someone else to accept it.
  • Request the removal of relevant, factual information.
  • Guarantee an edit. Other Wikipedia editors are free to reject or ignore suggestions or to modify wording as they see fit.
  • Guarantee a timeline. The time needed to get a response to a request varies.
  • Directly edit an article on which the brand does not have a neutral point of view.
  • Conceal a conflict of interest by excluding it from a user profile or discussion on a Talk page.

The Process

Phase 1: Research and Preparation

  • PNConnect: Research Wikipedia page history and active editors and projects surrounding it.
  • Brand and PN Team: Review the current brand page and list proposed factual corrections and reshaping — with guidance from PNConnect on rules and best practices. Provide reliable, third-party citation for any new information. PNConnect will review and help modify as necessary.
  • PNConnect deliverable: Findings regarding the brand and opportunities/needs on Wikipedia. Draft text for recommended page updates, with citation. Prioritization of which updates are most critical.

Phase 2: Collaboration with Wikipedia Editors

Work with Wikipedians to recommend edits. PNConnect will include the brand in review and approval each step of the way.

  • Request updates on the Talk page of the brand article, disclosing conflict of interest and providing full citation.
  • If this doesn’t initiate dialogue, reach out to individual editors who have been active in the past. Work follows the best practices identified in this flowchart.

Note: Estimating the duration of a project and the number of hours needed can be difficult, because the support and responsiveness of Wikipedia editors is tough to predict.

Ready to get started?

Reach out to your PNConnect representative or email


Image Credits



Further Reading