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Using Wikipedia for Marketing

During the Search Engine Strategies conference, I attended a panel focused on SEM in relation to online communities – with a particular focus on deli.cio.us and Wikipedia.  Members of the panel shared several great ideas about how to market in a community environment, without alienating members of the community or being perceived negatively as a marketer.  Aside from the obvious points about transparency and honesty – several other tips emerged as a good guide for marketers considering tapping into the power of these communities to get feedback and start a dialogue with consumers, as well as using them as marketing channels.

  • Give up control, people will take your original content and change it completely.
  • It is ok to put in "corporate" content, as long as it is relevant to the community.
  • Let it live and breath, only step in to correct inaccurate information
  • Make sure your own content is not getting pushed out of search results by this new content

Jeff Watts, Search & Community Manager for National Instruments shared a great example of his experience in adding the term "LabView" to Wikipedia several years ago with a 40 character marketing description.  Within 20 minutes, the post had been edited, and now has several pages of dense content on Wikipedia and appears highly on search results on Google for Labview.  It is a great example of how marketers can jump start the creation of third party content that ends up being a wonderful selling and marketing tool – assuming you are able to release control and let the greater community take over.

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  • Zocky

    Thousands of volunteers, ordinary people, idealists, are creating the “sum of human knowledge” to make world a better place for everyone, and you are here proposing ways to abuse their work for personal gain.

    Is there no limit to the shamelessness of marketing?

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:David_Gerard David Gerard

    Thankfully, the Speedy Deletion patrollers have been alerted to this post …

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  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestle#Criticisms_of_Nestl.C3.A9.27s_business_practices Matt

    I feel it’s somewhat unethical for people to edit Wikipedia with the motive of it “being a wonderful selling and marketing tool”.

    And it may not be such a great tool, of course. Don’t forget that Wikipedia articles will document criticisms, e.g.: Nestle

  • http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com Rohit Bhargava

    Thanks for your comments. My view is that just because some information is associated with a corporation doesn’t mean that it can’t be part of the “sum of human knowledge.” Of course there is potential for misuse, and I’m sure the speedy deleters will take care of that. But ipod, Coca-Cola, Betamax, Blu-ray Disc are all terms that are currently listed in Wikipedia and have lots of contributers that have edited these “corporate” entries to be knowledge based, and not marketing oriented. Should these be removed because of their relationship to corporations? I think they have a legitimate place there.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Zocky Zocky

    Nobody has suggested that encyclopedic articles about corporations be removed. In fact, corporations are major players in the modern world, and documenting them and their activities is a crucial part of what Wikipedia does.

    But your post above isn’t only about that. You offer some good advice about editing Wikipedia, but the motivation, to “appear highly on search results on Google” and to use the encyclopedia, which volunteers are writing in their own time and which is served on servers paid by donations, often by those same volunteers, as “a wonderful selling and marketing tool”, is simply immoral.

  • llywrch

    I’m another Wikipedian who stumbled across this article. From the comments above, I believe we have a clash of cultures here, & I’d like to try to explain some of the differences between the two.

    Wikipedians are against “marketing” because, from long experience, we see it as a means to sell goods or services to people. If all a potential reader of your article sees in Wikipedia is one more way to close a deal & increase sales, then that person should stay away from Wikipedia: at best there will be a long & painful learning process about how it works; at worst, it’ll simply be a long & painful experience. Wikipedia currently has no openings for salesmen, religion-pushers or crackpots, & we are busy trying to downsize the ones we have.

    However, if you see it as a way to share _information_ about what you do in your day job, then welcome aboard! But the emphasis here is on providing information, not spin or positioning or anything that can be considered BS. If you describe “Acme products creates the best widgets for the growing whoosit market”, it will be rewritten. Expect the response to be hostile at times — it’s that way for everyone. If you can consistently present yourself as an informed, intelligent person in the areas you contribute, & eager to participate in discussions, that will benefit you much if not more than Rohit expects.

    But having written this, I expect more people will fail in following Rohit’s advice than succeed. It’s a different culture in Wikipedia, & unless you’re willing to learn new customs you’ll be treated as a trespasser & inevitably shown the door.

    Geoff

  • http://www.icpr2.com mehdi bagherian

    Call for papersâ€￾ â€￾Iran 3rd International Conference on Public Relations‎
    Nov. 15-16, 2006‎

    The participants in Iran 3rd International Conference on PR, while using different seminars and workshops, ‎could have access to the latest specialized contents and talk with the most prominent scientists in PR field.‎

    Conference Programs:‎
    ‎-‎ Holding a specialized exhibition
    ‎-‎ Holding the first national PR competition (public and superior public relations from peoples’ point of ‎view)‎
    ‎-‎ Holding the first International PR workshop
    ‎-‎ Presence of the most prominent scientist from different parts of the world
    ‎-‎ Awarding prize and Dr. Notghi’s Award,the father of Iran new public relations, in eight rubric
    ‎-‎ Publishing the conference book for introducing the successful PR companies and bringing scientific ‎and educational contents
    ‎-‎ Selecting two participants at random for attending the annual conference of International Public ‎Relations Association (IPRA)‎

    Conference organizer:‎
    ‎-‎ PR Kargozar

    Conference hosts:‎
    ‎-‎ Islamic Cultural Ministry (deputy to press and information, General office of promotion and ‎information)‎
    ‎-‎ Azad Islamic University
    ‎-‎ Communications and Culture Faculty/Emam Sadegh University
    ‎-‎ New Faculty/Scientific- Practical University‎
    ‎-‎ Iranian Culture and Communications Studies Association
    ‎-‎ Iran PR Specialties Association
    ‎-‎ Iran Industry Center
    ‎-‎ Kerman PR Association
    ‎-‎ PR Kargozar
    ‎-‎ The World Eight Art Consulting Co. ‎

    In addition to presenting scientific and expert contents by keynotes speakers, selected articles by the ‎scientific committee in conference are also could be delivered and published in the conference collected ‎articles. Along this movement, researchers and experts are invited to send their articles with subject matters ‎of conference (pivots) and predicted rubrics, to the secretariat. ‎

    The subject matters of conference
    Important subjectmatters, useful for today’s PR practitioners, are included in the program of Iran ‎International Conference on Public Relations. These contraction subjects would be discussed within 2 days of ‎conference as speeches, articles, workshops, seminars and meetings.‎

    ‎1-‎ Internal Public Relations

    ‎1-1-‎ The importance of establishing communication with employees
    ‎1-2-‎ Preparing an internal informational program
    ‎1-3-‎ How to organize a public relations program
    ‎1-4-‎ Group communications and participation in organizational planning ‎
    ‎1-5-‎ Practical aspects of internal public relations
    ‎1-6-‎ Internal organizational communications in the Internet
    ‎1-7-‎ Strategies of expanding interactions and reciprocal responsibilities of organizations and PR ‎managers
    ‎1-8-‎ Strategies of inside organizational communications
    ‎1-9-‎ State of management in public relations
    ‎1-10-‎ Public relations, ethical codes and respecting clients
    ‎1-11-‎ Budgeting PR programs
    ‎1-12-‎ Efficient methods for managing a PR unit
    ‎1-13-‎ Principles of inside organizational informing ‎
    ‎1-14-‎ Values and measures of internal PR
    ‎1-15-‎ Importance of PR in changing organizational environment
    ‎1-16-‎ Evaluating the strategies of internal PR
    ‎1-17-‎ Strategic planning for internal PR
    ‎1-18-‎ Observing clients’ rights, how could respecting clients’ time leads to recurrent organizational ‎strategies
    ‎1-19-‎ Strong internal public relations, an arm of management
    ‎1-20-‎ Indicating target group and taking poll in internal public relations

    ‎2-‎ Crisis Communications ‎

    ‎1-2- Crisis management in practice
    ‎2-2- Communications strategy in critical situations ‎
    ‎3-2- Believing media capabilities in central crisis: about Iran
    ‎4-2- The role of public relations in controlling the bird influenza crisis
    ‎5-2- Crisis management and reserving credit and reputation in tourism
    ‎6-2- PR principles and taking risk after Katrina hurricane ‎
    ‎7-2- Planning and crisis management ‎
    ‎8-2- Strategy of responsiveness and indicating a communicational policy (media management)‎
    ‎9-2- Planning for establishing communications in crisis situations
    ‎10-2- Credit crisis and crisis management training
    ‎11-2- Public relations and political crisis in society
    ‎12-2- PR crisis; how to do the responsibilities of media in critical time‎

    ‎3-‎ Reputation management, image making and corporate social responsibility

    ‎1-3- Corporate social responsibility in image making ‎
    ‎2-3- Brand and strategic mark management ‎
    ‎3-3- Reputaion management in location‎
    ‎4-3- Dealing with today’s changing challenges in credit and reputation management
    ‎5-3- Truth in making credit and reputation ‎
    ‎6-3- Are credit and image of organization measurable?‎
    ‎7-3- Reputation crisis in public relations‎
    ‎8-3- Reputation management in ICT
    ‎9-3- Practical aspects of visual communications
    ‎10-3- Gaining fame through credit and support
    ‎11-3- Branding and its role in realizing the goals of economic unit
    ‎12-3- Social responsibility in public relations and risk bearing
    ‎13-3- How to preserve our global credit: a short look at international PR dynamism‎

    ‎4-‎ Online Public Relations

    ‎1-4- online public relations’ bases, practices and services‎
    ‎2-4- emergence of Internet and changing in PR structure
    ‎3-4- web log, a new tool for public relations‎
    ‎4-4- online public relations, what we should teach
    ‎5-4- online public relations and its influence on economy‎
    ‎6-4- online public relations in open and closed systems
    ‎7-4- communications and journalism in digital time‎
    ‎8-4- online promotion and marketing, dos and don’ts‎
    ‎9-4- advantages and capabilities of the Internet for PR industry‎
    ‎10-4- public relations, e-marketing and business
    ‎11-4- public relations in informational society
    ‎12-4- the effect of globalization of technology on communications‎
    ‎13-4- using digital channels for increasing the effect of public relations‎
    ‎14-4- methods of efficient public relations in time of technology‎
    ‎15-4- PR campaigns through the Internet, online and offline

    Deadline of sending abstracts
    The abstracts should be sent to the secretariat of through express post till Aug. 1, 2006 ‎

    Deadline of sending the final text and ready for publishing ‎
    In case of the articles are accepted for publishing or being presented in conference, the final text should be ‎sent to the secretariat through express post till Sep. 21, 2006‎

    Instruction of writing articles
    Sent articles should include the latest achievements, and new practical and theoretical ideas about notified ‎subjects. The articles should not have been published before or sent to other conferences. The writers are ‎requested to adjust their articles in A4, maximum in 8 pages, in Windows XP with Nazanin Font (12) and ‎English font Times New Roman (10).‎

    Margins: ‎
    The margin should be set as the following: top, 4.5 cm (first page, 7cm); right, 2.5 cm; left, 2.5cm; bottom, ‎‎2cm. Persian font for title, 16 bold; name of writer, 12 bold; workplace, 12 italic; section title, 14 bold; ‎footnotes of pictures and head notes of tables 12 bold; English font for title, 14 bold; name of writer, 10 bold; ‎workplace, 10 italic; section title, 12 bold; footnotes of pictures and head notes tables 8 bold and the main ‎text should be typed with Nazanin B font 12. ‎
    Name of presenter should be underlined. Reference number should be indicated with {} and the reference ‎should be stipulated at the end of text in the same order, they appear in the text. Graphs and pictures should ‎be mentioned before references in numerical order too. Sending the floppy or CD of articles is a must. ‎

    Presenting articles (oral- poster)‎
    ‎1-‎ Maximum 20% of the accepted articles shall be presented orally and the rest should be delivered as ‎posters. ‎
    ‎2-‎ If an article is delivered by one person, the speaker shall be exempt from registration fee.‎
    ‎3-‎ If and article is delivered by group (maximum 4 people), the speaker shall be exempt from ‎registration fee and the other persons benefit a 60% discount. ‎
    ‎4-‎ If an article is affirmed to be presented as posters, the speakers (maximum 4 people) enjoy the proper ‎space and facilities for their work.‎
    ‎-‎ In this case, the first two people are exempt from paying registration fee and the next two people shall ‎have a 60% discount. ‎
    ‎5-‎ The five best articles, selected by the scientific committee, considering the contents measures, shall ‎be awarded a prize.‎
    ‎6-‎ ‎ Accepted articles, shall be published totally as book. ‎

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  • jeffe

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