If it were easy to have your own Wikipedia profile, everyone in the business world would have one, not only for themselves individually, but for their businesses and for their products or services as well.
But just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort. It is.
Wikipedia is, arguably, the most exclusive club in the reputation universe. It’s hard to get accepted. But once you become a member, it is like a lifetime marketing annuity that pays impressive online visibility dividends.
For all but the most select Wikipedia profile candidates – those whose high visibility makes them a shoo-in for inclusion – planning your petition to include your biography is a process akin to applying to a prestigious graduate school program. There are competencies that the Wikipedia admissions committee* will expect you to meet before they’ll open the gates to you.
The graduate school analogy is appropriate. If you want to attend an Ivy League school or other esteemed university, you must begin positioning yourself well ahead of the actual application. There are tests to take, courses to complete, real-world experiences to accrue, and recommendations to obtain.
So it is with Wikipedia, which – as an encyclopedia – wants proof that you are sufficiently notable to be of permanent interest to the public at large.
Proving You’re Noteworthy
If you are a business owner or entrepreneur with little or no current public visibility – a complete blank slate – the Wikipedia enrollment process is one that could take up to two years to prepare, sometimes even longer. Many people don’t have the patience to apply themselves for 24 months to achieve a business goal, so they don’t bother.
Often, Wikipedia profile candidates already meet some, but not all, of the qualifications that Wikipedia requires to approve a biographical profile. In such cases, the approval process could take as few as four to six weeks.
But whether you need several weeks or several years to clear the Wikipedia entrance hurdle, here’s the good news: you’ll see tangible – profitable – results from your efforts to qualify for a Wikipedia profile long before you’re actually ready to make your case to the Wikipedia admissions committee*.
Once you resolve to land your own personal real estate on Wikipedia, persistence and patience will pay. The site already contains hundreds of thousands of articles about living individuals, the majority of who are not widely known. If these people can plant their Wikipedia flag, so can you.
The formal criteria that Wikipedia sets for including biographies of living persons – which it dubs “BLPs” – is that the individuals must be noteworthy. The rub comes in deciphering how Wikipedia defines who is and who isn’t noteworthy.
According to Wikipedia’s definition, the barometer of notability is whether credible people independent of you find you notable enough that they have written or broadcast non-trivial works of their own that focus on you.
A single flurry of publicity is probably not enough to win you a permanent place on Wikipedia. But a sustained presence in the public spotlight usually will lead to Wikipedia admittance.
You Profit By Trying
Making yourself more visible elsewhere, first, is a price well worth paying. It boils down to good, old-fashioned reputation management. Done well, you’ll reap plenty of financial rewards for your efforts long before Wikipedia bestows its official seal of approval upon your accomplishments.
In future installments of this column, we’ll discuss various techniques you can use to bolster your online reputation and general visibility. Doing so will also greatly increase the likelihood of meriting a permanent profile on Wikipedia.
These reputation enhancement steps include:
- Generate publicity about yourself in mainstream newspapers, magazines, documentaries, and broadcasts.
- Be featured in academic journals, books, and e-books written by third-party authors.
- Speak or moderate panels at respected industry and professional conferences.
- Win recognition for your achievements from professional trade groups, nonprofit community organizations, government agencies, universities, and other recognized institutions.
- Build a following for yourself and your ideas on third-party websites, such as The Huffington Post, About.com, Examiner.com, and HubPages.com.
- Use social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and others to fortify your reputation as a thought-leader and notable individual.
Obtaining your own Wikipedia profile is somewhat akin to attaining a degree with honors from a prestigious graduate school. You don’t need one to succeed in business and earning one is no guarantee of success.
But appearing on Wikipedia does tell the world that you are among an elite group of men and women who have sufficiently applied themselves, attained success, and dedicated the necessary energy and commitment to count yourself in the business world summa cum laude – an individual with highest praise.
[*Note: If you have not read my three previous posts in this PanPrestige Wikipedia series, you should know that there is no actual “application” that you must submit to be approved by Wikipedia and no “committee” that sits in judgment. When you understand what Wikipedia will and will not publish, and you’ve taken the necessary steps to merit inclusion, your profile submission will be reviewed by a single Wikipedia editor who has the authority to grant you admission. Your profile, as noted in my column titled, Enlisting Complete Strangers To Help Secure Your Wikipedia Profile, stands a much better shot at being accepted if you don’t submit it on your own behalf.]
Read our previous Wikipedia columns:
If you would like a strong Wikipedia presence to strengthen your personal or business brand, I encourage you to contact Pan Prestige to discover how we can make getting your own Wikipedia listings and citations pain-free. If you already have one or more Wikipedia pages, contact us for a free evaluation of how effectively you’re harnessing the titanic power of the service.