Today I'm pleased to announce and make available a project I've had in the works for several months now. In some ways, it has been several years. And in more than a few ways, it is not entirely my own doing: those who who have worked with me at Beutler Ink, and those who have collaborated with me on Wikipedia have all contributed some part to it. I am referring to Wikipedia and the Communications Professional: A Manual, an ebook I started writing earlier this summer, which aims to provide a concise but actionable starting point for those working in PR, marketing and related communications fields who have corrections or suggestions to offer Wikipedia, and who are committed to doing so in a way that respects Wikipedia's own rules.
I am also very pleased to announce that it is being presented in partnership with the Council of Public Relations Firms and Institute for Public Relations, who are also making it available on their own websites.
Among the very frequently-asked questions this book seeks to address:
- What if there isn’t presently an article about my company or client?
- What if I just want to make a few simple, fact-based updates?
- What can I do if an article is overly negative or derogatory?
- A Wikipedia editor disagrees with me. What can I do?
The actual writing of this ebook began in late June, following the release of a joint statement by several of the world's largest public relations firms, which we called "Statement on Wikipedia by participating communications firms". (Catchy, eh?) The statement was intended as one starting point, sending a message to Wikipedia from the PR industry that said: "We want to get it right". This manual is intended as another starting point, sharing information with the industry itself: "Here's how you get it right."
Neither of these could have been achieved without the support and commitment first of the many folks whose names are listed as signatories on the statement from June, and on the "Acknowledgments" page of the ebook we are publishing today. I hope you find it a compelling and enlightening read. While it most certainly will not solve every question you may have, it should put you on the right path to finding the correct answer.
For those who find such things interesting, please note that it is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license and meant to be shared freely. And in case you are wondering, this is surely just the first version. I'll be adding updates as they are necessary and, while this last goal is a bit further out, planning to turn this into a full book sometime in 2015. If you'd like to receive updates on that effort, please join our email list.