Here’s what you need to know as a Comms pro and why we will continue to work on Wikipedia entries for people, brands and organisations
Wikipedia's established reputation and editorial checks lend it an air of credibility that AI systems still lack. Here’s why news and Comms professionals will continue to strive for a Wikipedia entry for people, brands and organisations, even though it’s a tedious task with multiple hoops and hurdles.
The undisputed comms king
A champion of references and shaper of public perception, Wikipedia outpaces all online knowledge sources and searches. When you're on the hunt for just about anything, Wikipedia appears at the top. It nails 'search intent'— Google's geek-speak for 'what you really want to know.
Users don’t even need to click to the site to see Wikipedia content. Google features it in displays, in prized real estate at the top of search results, and in pop-up snippets.
The popularity is mind blowing; Wikipedia by 2021 was the most visited website in the US with 1.5 billion unique devices accessing Wikipedia monthly. It has 327 language editions and still counting. Some 39.9 million users access Wikipedia from their mobile phones per day.
The chatbot whisperer
With its open access to over 6 million articles, the information hub boasts 2.6 billion monthly visitors. No other search does more to shape perceptions of people, brands and organisations. No other platform democratizes knowledge at the volume and speed of the platform . Companies, and even voice bots such as Google Voice, Siri, Alexa automatically reference Wikipedia for data. Often the content is pulled from the first two sentences of relevant Wikipedia articles. Contributing to relevant articles ensures insights reach ears (or rather, speakers) beyond the online audience. Imagine thought leadership shaping the responses millions receive daily, subtly solidifying a company, a brand or an organisation’s position as a go-to source.
SEO on steroids
Forget chasing fickle algorithms; high domain authority makes it a powerful tool for organic SEO. It propels related articles to the top of search results. Contributions automatically benefit from this SEO goldmine, increasing visibility and attracting those actively seeking expertise in your area.
For PR clients, having a well-crafted and referenced Wikipedia page boosts their online presence, making them more discoverable to potential followers and collaborators.
Community of champions
Wikipedia thrives on community and collaboration. The collaborative nature means that content is constantly reviewed and updated by multiple contributors, adding to its credibility. For someone looking to establish themselves as a thought leader, being featured or cited on Wikipedia creates additional credibility to their work, as it has undergone scrutiny and validation by a knowledgeable community. Thought leaders can leverage visibility to reach a wider audience, making their ideas and insights more accessible to people around the world.
What about Generative AI? Will it kill Wikipedia over time?
Accuracy and Bias: While AI is adept at generating text, mitigating bias remains a significant hurdle. Wikipedia's community-driven editing and moderation process helps filter out inaccuracies and biases, something AI struggles with.
Depth and Nuance: Wikipedia articles delve deep into topics, offering multifaceted perspectives and historical context. AI models, trained on vast datasets, might struggle to replicate the same level of depth and nuance, especially in niche or complex subjects.
Credibility and Trust: Wikipedia's established reputation and editorial checks lend it an air of credibility that AI systems, still in their early stages, lack. Building trust takes time and a proven track record, which Wikipedia already possesses.
So, while newer Generative AI platforms emerge, Wikipedia's unique combination of accessibility, comprehensiveness, and community-driven curation means it will continue to be relevant and popular in years to come. Sorry colleagues, we still need to be fiercely working on our Wikipedia entries.