Almost everything under the sun is Wikipedia-ble nowadays. But you should know that being Wikipedia-ble is not always a good thing as it could make or break you, or your business', reputation. That's why the Pixel Master and CEO of The Mather Group, Josh Greene, says that it's really helpful to at the very least understand what's going on underneath the hood at Wikipedia.
In this episode, Josh shared what, and who, Wikipedia is and takes us under the hood. He also shares how you could be a contributor and editor of the content on the site, how you can request to rectify a content, and how it could be a part of your overall reputation strategy and get you noticed. He also explains how they, at The Mather Group, can help your business #getnoticed through Wikipedia monitoring just like monitoring your SEO results.
You can also order a copy of Josh's Wikipedia for Business: Supercharge your business book on Amazon.
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Hello and welcome to this episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur and with Josh Greene, who is the founder and CEO of the Mather Group all the way in Vienna, oh, Virginia, America. Welcome Josh to the show.Josh Greene:
Thanks for having me on, Jim.Jim James:
You're more than welcome. And you are known as the Pixel Master, amongst many other things. So can you help understand in our conversation about SEO and about Wikipedia, how you help entrepreneurs to get noticed?Josh Greene:
Sure. The Mather group is an online reputation agency. We help entrepreneurs with how they're showing up in Google and Wikipedia and make sure they're getting the message out that they would like to have out there in the world.Jim James:
And so this business, the Mather Group you started about five years ago, I think, now. And can you just share with us then part of the work you're doing is around Wikipedia, and that's a really interesting place. I'm, I'm personally part of contribution community for the Wikipedia foundation, but I confess, I don't know enough about how does Wikipedia really work and how does it help maybe someone manage their reputation.Josh Greene:
Yeah. Well, the nice thing about Wikipedia is it's, it was designed as a repository for the world's knowledge, and it's, it's gone a long way towards meeting that goal. And as you're familiar with, your Wikipedia page powers a lot of different things it powers that the Google knowledge panel it's used in YouTube. It's almost always the top three rankings. So what Wikipedia says about your business, if it does, is going to have a huge impact on what the world thinks about your business. So as such, it's really helpful to at the very least understand what's going on underneath the hood at, at Wikipedia.Jim James:
Well, take us under the hood then, Josh. Cause you sound like just the right guy to do it. I mean, we've all used it. It's the world's greatest library. Isn't it, really?Josh Greene:
It is. And what's happened is because it's has such a reputation. There, there are a lot of people who are trying to work within and without the Wikipedia system to influence what Wikipedia says about them or their business or the category that they are in. One of the big challenges for entrepreneurs is the idea that anyone can edit Wikipedia. So you don't have total control about what someone might say over you in Wikipedia. And then the other thing that's very frustrating is that while anyone can edit Wikipedia, there are many, many, many rules, on many of which are the opposite of what someone running a business might want them to be in terms of how they portray themselves.Jim James:
So Josh, it's a huge, huge universe. Where do we start? Do we start with how does a company get a Wikipedia page? So do you want to start there maybe? Or, or can everybody get a Wikipedia page? Let's start even before that.Josh Greene:
Yeah. And the answer to that is, is no, not everyone can get a page and if you're a relatively small company and we can talk about this in a minute, you're probably better off not trying to do that and interact with Wikipedia in a different way. Wikipedia has a number of thresholds for new pages. A- you have to have an editor who's interested, decide to write about you. But even beyond that, you have to meet Wikipedia's definition of Notability, which is very different than how we as entrepreneurs might define Notability. You need a great deal of, of third-party press coverage, where it's not done with you. So not that you're quoted in it, it needs to be written from a third party perspective, which is, you know, not all that common. So you need a great deal of press, and oftentimes that's sort of frustrating because what you think of as good press is not what Wikipedia considers good press. So, that can post some challenges. So, if you're a relatively smaller company, there, there are better ways to engage than trying to set up your own page.Jim James:
Josh, before we talk about, how you can engage with Wikipedia, do you want to explain who or what is Wikipedia? You make it sound almost like the matrix it's just kind of out there, like this big throbbing brain on the internet. Who, what is Wikipedia?Josh Greene:
So Wikipedia is, is basically a giant social network of tens of thousands of people who volunteered to be editors and who added all sorts of different things on Wikipedia. Some people might edit just articles on sports in their free time others might edit articles about politics in their spare time, others might focus on punctuation and grammar and citations. You can find almost anything that you're interested and there's an area of Wikipedia that you can contribute to. But it also comes with essentially all of the headaches that you would expect a community of tens of thousands of people trying to agree on what one version of the world's encyclopedia should be. So that's, that's one of its great strengths and one of its great weaknesses, you have a huge diversity of views and you also have a huge diversity of views about what Wikipedia should be and what appropriate content is.Jim James:
So, is there sort of a curation panel then, Josh? Or is it sort of an arbitrary, kind of, almost like an amoeba of editing.Josh Greene:
I, I would say there, there is more of an amoeba. There, there are different levels of editors in terms of administration and approving new pages, but anyone can edit any page. And oftentimes it depends on the strength of the argument you're making about what rules you're following and which should be applied in terms of whether, you know, you're at it's stick or don't stick, or whether you have to argue about it. So there is, you know, a lot to consider when you're, when you're editing. Some pages are very popular to edit other pages, very rarely ever get edited.Jim James:
So, so when you say there are, you know, editors just take us through that. If you, if you want to be a contributor, that's one thing. What about if you wanted to be an editor, then Josh? Let's say there's a, a topic or a technical area that you're particularly knowledgeable about, and you're a subject matter expert, how does one then become an editor then? And do you need to be an editor to be a contributor for your own topics?Josh Greene:
Yeah. So one of the nice things about Wikipedia, is there a ton, there is a ton of, training material on Wikipedia itself on how you can be a contributor editor, which are sort of words that might even get used interchangeably. What I would recommend is if you're interested in your page, do not make that the very first page you get involved in. And there are all sorts of rules about what you can do with content that you're involved in. And in addition to that, usually the first time you edit Wikipedia you will undoubtedly go a file of some of the rules that Wikipedia has. We, as entrepreneurs, love marketing language, Wikipedia very much wants neutral language. So Wikipedia will, as a, as a, software, actually recommend pages that you can edit to get started if you sign up to be an editor. And that's a great way to, sort of, understand whether or not this is something that, that you want to be doing.Jim James:
Interesting. So, you said the software sends you something. So is there, an AI engine that matches your interest or abilities to the pages that you can be editing? Is that what you're suggesting, Josh?Josh Greene:
When you first start out, Wikipedia will, will ask you if you want to edit as the software or the AI, and say, here are some pages that need help. They might be a new page. There might be grammar issues. There, there's a whole community around editing that I'll help you get started if you want to actually become an editor. You know, whether or not that's something you want to do, depends on, you know, sort of what, what your interests are and whether you want to be involved in, in the Wikipedia editing community. And then, we can talk a little about how that might play a role with, with a company you're running as well.Jim James:
Yeah, I think because most entrepreneurs are probably thinking a, sort of, proactive, less about editing other people's content and more, perhaps slightly rather selfishly thinking about how they can build awareness and all the benefits of, of Wikipedia for brand reputation. So can we move into that then, Josh? How, how do you recommend companies, then, to look at Wikipedia? And obviously, respect its integrity as the world's encyclopedia and yet play a role as well. What do you do at the Mather Group?Josh Greene:
Yes. And what I would say is there are probably three different main areas to look at. And I'll give you the high-level summary first, and then we can dig into any that you might want. One is if your company does not have a page currently, and you are, say, under 20 employees. In 99% of the cases, you will have a very difficult time getting a page of your own setup. There are many things that have a far higher, higher ROI than trying to set up your own Wikipedia page. They're, they're just a lot of pitfalls there. Secondly, if there is a page about your company, you want to evaluate it and see if it's doing a reasonable job of representing your company and then make some decisions. It might be that it's pretty good and you don't feel like it needs a whole lot of changes being on what you might want from a marketing standpoint, or it might have a ton of controversy in which case you may need to actively get involved. Negative content tends to go on and on on Wikipedia because people who are aggrieved and use Wikipedia for that reason tend to be fairly verbose. And then thirdly, and I think this is one of the, the hidden opportunities in Wikipedia. Most companies are participating in a category. and if you're a relatively unnoticed company, say you might be doing some thought leadership around your area, maybe it's business process automation, and usually Wikipedia will have a page around business process automation. And most of those category pages are under-resourced under cited. Those are not as built out as company pages. So if you're doing thought leadership, that helps move your field forward. That's really an opportunity where your content could be useful to Wikipedia and help building the world's knowledge. So that is, that is something, as a business owner, that's probably an opportunity versus the second one if your page has a lot of negative content. That's more of a reactive trying to fix things type of situation.Jim James:
Josh, perhaps we can then those to the second or the third ones. With the second one, let's call that reputation management or even crisis management. How do you manage them to rectify what's been said on Wikipedia? A bit like Glassdoor, someone is writing something, it's out of your control. So how do you go back and maybe just fact check it for example.Josh Greene:
And, I will offer up, given we have limited time. Wikipedia has a ton of great resources on how to do that, but every single Wikipedia page ha s in the top left a tab that says 'talk', and that's where people talk about the bigger topics on a particular page. If you were making a small edit, you wouldn't necessarily post something, but if you wanted to say these six paragraphs about controversy, you should really just be a line or two, you would say something on the talk page. That's the official approved place as a company, you can, you can ask the Wikipedia community at large fix inaccuracies. So if you look at some of the bigger companies out there, your IBM, your Microsoft, there's a lot of content on that. And that's a great place to start if there's negative content about you on Wikipedia.Jim James:
Okay. And then, so there is a, there is a device, there's a, there's a gateway to, to address negative. And what about then your contribution? sort of, the thought leadership. presumably as you said before, it can't be PR has to be something moving the industry along. How does one then make those contributions? And then, how is that cited? Are there links to your website? Or are you posting the content and your hands off? How does that work in terms of bringing it back to you?Josh Greene:
Yeah. And usually it's, it's a similar mechanism. There are other ways to do it, but talk page is a great page place to say, 'Hey, we've done some research in the industry. It would help build out this page. Here's some suggested content for this page.' And then usually every Wikipedia page is highly cited. One of the key principles of Wikipedia is it's it's fact-based and verifiable, meaning you can go back to the source for that information. So if you've had an article written about you in a trade publication that covers some of that material, you could on the talk page say, 'Here's a couple of lines about new developments and business process automation. Here are the citations about it.' And then usually someone who's editing that page will go through and add that in. It's sort of a way to be helpful to the community. You don't have to edit the page yourself, which, which has issues. But on the talk page, you can say 'Here's something that's going to add to that page,' and make suggestions. And then if someone moves it live onto the page, you'll have that citation linking back to either your site or press coverage about you. Both of which are very useful for a variety of reasons.Jim James:
Okay, well, that's very reassuring. One, is that you don't have to then, sort of, sign up and be a contributor in an ongoing and go through all of the mechanics of that. But that also that it's going to come back to you. You mentioned the benefits. Maybe now's the time, Josh, and explain at the Mather Group, how you then position Wikipedia is really part of someone's overall reputation strategy, because it does play a role, doesn't it? Not stand alone.Josh Greene:
It, It does because of all those places get syndicated to. It's, it's not just Wikipedia dot, dot org. It's it's, you know, the Google results and everything like that. And I would say for most companies, it's important to be aware of it, monitor it. Mostly, there are a bunch of tools that if you're getting mentioned, then you can think about how you want to react to it. So I would say that the first step is just awareness. If you don't have a page and you're not showing up on Wikipedia, in one sense you don't have anything to do specifically. There's nothing you're trying to mitigate or fix. If you are on Wikipedia monitoring it just like you'd monitor your SEO results or your, your, you know, press coverage is generally a good idea, because it's one of those things that has both positive and negative impacts. So for a lot of companies, it's just being aware that Wikipedia is there and keeping an eye on it in case something either positive or negative happens. And then you can figure out what the next part of your plan is in terms of, approaches or next steps.Jim James:
So do you think really participating in Wikipedia is something that really everybody you should be looking at in one way or another then, Josh? As part of their overall reputation strategy wants to be on and say 20 to 30 people?Josh Greene:
I would say that, that you absolutely should be monitoring it and keeping an eye on it. Level of involvement really depends on the specifics of your situation. Some companies just attract attention. Others might be a little bit more under the radar, and I think that's going to play a big role in, you know, what you want to do is as you get to that size.Jim James:
And what about you, Josh, at the Mather Group? What services do you provide for companies then around, around Wikipedia?Josh Greene:
A lot of what we do is education. Helping them understand what is and is not possible, and then providing, some ideas for implementation and helping them with that. A lot of times what companies need is, is just education and an understanding of what they can and can't do, that, that seems to be a large part of it, and then helping them on that path of, of becoming a good community member.Jim James:
That's wonderful, now. Josh, you're a community member, but you're also an entrepreneur you started to Mather Group. Can you share with us, how are you getting the business noticed? So I'm always interested in your skill sets, but also as an entrepreneur, what, what do you do that is helping you to get your business noticed?Josh Greene:
Yeah. We've been, we've been fortunate. I think it's typical for a lot of consultancies is that there's a lot of referral based business. A lot of people you talk to and, and, you know, good things come out of that. We also do a weekly newsletter on Wikipedia and SEO. That's been good for keeping in front of people. And we do a lot of content around what you can do as a company with Wikipedia from, from, sort of, a communication standpoint. We just came out with a, a book about 'Wikipedia for business 2022.' That's been useful in terms of just getting awareness out there that there are actually things you can do with, with Wikipedia, from a corporate standpoint.Jim James:
So publishing a book, and what I'd love to do is put the link in the show notes to the book. What's the book called, Josh, if people can't wait.Josh Greene:
Oh, no, well we can put it in the show notes. You can just Google, Josh Greene and Wikipedia on Amazon. If you, if you want to find it.Jim James:
Okay. That's wonderful. So, Josh, joining us all the way from, uh, Vienna, Virginia, are there any things that you'd like to share about Wikipedia that, that we haven't touched on so far?Josh Greene:
I think that the key thing that I would, sort of, recommend is, is doing research versus jumping right in. As an entrepreneur, it is easy to see an edit button and figure you're just going to solve a problem, but I would strongly recommend doing some research before you do that.Jim James:
That, that is great advice because it's a huge encyclopedia writing. You don't want to be trying to edit that before you've really understood what it's all about. Josh, you so much for sharing today one of the world's great resources. And bringing to my attention ways that you could work with Wikipedia that I'd never understood before. So, Josh Greene, CEO of the Mather Group, the Master the Pixels. Thank you so much for joining me today.Josh Greene:
Thanks for having me on Jim.Jim James:
It's been my pleasure.