How to Create a Wikipedia Page for Your Organization: The AfC Process

Over the course of its existence, Wikipedia has grown from an untrusted experiment to the most visited website in the U.S. 

Consider us impressed.

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In fact, the encyclopedia is now so well known, that Wikipedia pages:

Talk about a power house. If you’re looking to get in on the action, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to walk you through the process of page creation, giving you all the information in this one blog post and saving you from endlessly clicking through Wikipedia’s numerous “how to” articles.

Where to Start

At first glance, the how might seem fairly straightforward. All you need to do is:

  1. Create a Wikipedia account
  2. Search for your organization on Wikipedia
  3. Click on the resulting red link that signifies there is no existing page
  4. Start entering text on the blank page Wikipedia transports you to
  5. Hit “Publish” when you’re good and ready

However, it isn’t actually that straightforward. Wikipedia has a lot of red tape for a free-to-the-public encyclopedia.

First, and most importantly, you have to know that Wikipedia wants to keep all pages neutral in tone. It’s an encyclopedia, not a marketing platform. For this reason, Wikipedia strongly discourages anyone from writing about themselves or their business. If you decide to do so anyway, you must declare a Conflict of Interest.

After that, you still aren’t free to then move ahead with page creation and publication. You can draft a page, but you must then submit it under the Articles for Creation (AfC) process. Under this process, you write and submit a draft, disclose your COI on the draft’s talk page, and then submit the draft for review. Another editor will eventually review the draft and either publish it, make suggestions for improvements, or recommend it for deletion.

This entire process can take several weeks, and in many cases months. As of the time we published this, there were 4,842 pending submissions that needed to be reviewed.

If you want to improve your odds of a speedier review, there are two things you can do.

  1. Create a strong draft that follows all of Wikipedia’s rules on notoriety, sources, and tone.
  2. Tag your completed draft with relevant tags. This lets reviewers know that a draft has been submitted in their area of interest.

Now that the basic process has been outlined, let’s discuss how to write an outstanding draft.

Making Your Case

The first hurdle is proving to the thousands of editors that make up Wikipedia that your organization deserves a page. Luckily, you don’t have to take your draft door-to-door, but you do have to be prepared for literally anyone in the world to pass judgment on your draft and your organization’s notability.

The only way to pass this first test is by doing your research before you start drafting your page. Your organization needs to have substantial news coverage from reputable, third-party sources. This means that you cannot use your website, press releases, or personal interviews. You can use local and national media outlets, academic journals, books, and other similar publications.

You want to look for sources that devote significant coverage to your organization. If the source only contains a quote from your CEO, or a one-liner such as, “Check out these similar organizations…”, then the source is no good to you. You want at least a paragraph of content discussing your organization’s history, products, recent successes, etc. 

If you can find 3-5 sources that meet these requirements, you have a good shot at drafting a smaller page, known as a stub to those in the know. If you can find 5+ sources, you’re good to try creating a longer page. If you can’t find at least three sources, it’s time to put Wikipedia on the back burner and focus on generating more coverage.

Page Research and Drafting

Okay, now that you’re prepared with the sources you need, it’s time to start the actual drafting process. We recommend looking around Wikipedia at any organizations similar to your own. Get a feel for how they’ve structured their pages and see what they’ve shared. On a very basic level, you’ll probably see pages broken into sections like History and Products/Services. Of the two, history is generally easier to add, so we recommend starting there.

Whatever you’re adding, remember that every single statement you make must be backed up by the sources you found. This includes the founding date of your organization, the names of any executives, where you’re based, how you got started, the last acquisition you made…Expect anything and everything to be questioned. Your sources are your valuable proof that what you’re claiming is factual and has been accepted by reputable third-parties. If there’s something that you desperately want to add but can’t find a source for, be patient. Eventually, there might be a source that you can use; in the meantime, focus on what you do have sourcing for and make the best possible page with that information. Trying to sneak in unsourced content is only going to delay your publication process. If your draft is overly unsourced and biased in tone, the page might be marked for deletion and never see the light of day.

Definitely a situation you want to avoid.

On that note, while you’re drafting, go with the mantra that less is more. This allows you to see how your page is going to be received before you’ve invested hours and hours drafting pages of info. If someone has critiques, it’s easier to learn from their advice and edit two paragraphs than it is two pages. Not to mention, the more you write the more there is for someone else to critique. Focus on getting something short and representative published. Content can always be added to an existing page.

The “less is more” focus also helps you remember that a Wikipedia page is not a source of branding or marketing. Yes, having a page can boost your online presence, but, as we mentioned earlier, the page will be part of an encyclopedia. This means facts and an objective tone are absolutely critical to getting the page published and stable. If an editor feels that you’re too promotional, they will call you out and can recommend that your page be deleted.

Add, Edit, and Repeat

Once your page is live, be sure to keep an eye on it. You want to make sure no one is editing it with incorrect information, and you want to keep it up-to-date. People will be visiting it and you don’t want them walking away with a misleading impression of your organization. If there’s anything that you want edited or added to the page, find reputable sourcing to support your position, and then make the request on your article’s talk page. Once again, be sure to disclose your COI.

Other Options?

As you can tell, while a Wikipedia page is a great asset, the road to getting one isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience, a willingness to work with others, and an ability to step back and view your organization objectively. 

If you’d like help with understanding the process, or need someone to review your work and give you expert advice, give us a shout at any time. We’ve worked through almost every scenario you can imagine and can tell you the best way to get your page live and stable.

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