How to Create a Wikipedia Page for Your Band
Wikipedia pages are the holy grail of online citations. Although the site is a collaborative effort that allows virtually anyone to create or edit content, most pages are deleted shortly after being published. In fact, as of June 2014 it was estimated that over 1,000 pages were deleted each day. It goes without saying that building a Wikipedia page for your band isn’t easy – especially for local and/or independent artists. But I can tell you from personal experience that it can be done, and if you do it right, it won’t cost you a thing.
I used to play in a South Florida-based band called Pretty Girls. We were often criticized by friends and fellow musicians for focusing too much on the business and marketing side of things, rather than the music. I’m a firm believer in the notion that image will always trump the music itself. I won’t go down that rabbit hole now – but you can read my thoughts on this here.
When we first started playing together, I checked out what other bands in the area were doing. I noticed that just about everyone had a Facebook band page, a few had websites (most of which were complete shit), and one band in particular had a Wikipedia page. I looked up the band and to my surprise, they weren’t very different from us. We both had a decent following on social media, we both played shows regularly, we both had a website, and we both played a similar style of music. I thought if they can do it, we can do it, right?
I immediately went to wikipedia.org and got started making our page. I added all the basic details, and included a photo and short bio. I also made sure that I wrote as objectively as possible. The less biased you are, the better. (Some people recommend having someone else write your bio for this reason.) Once I was done, I simply clicked ‘publish’ and emailed the guitarist, bragging that I just created a Wikipedia page for our band. Not even 24 hours had passed by and I noticed that it was already marked for ‘speedy deletion.’ There were several issues flagged on the page, so I did my best to address each one, and once again hit ‘publish.’ The next day, same thing happened.
I started comparing our page to the pages for national touring acts, like Surfer Blood and Warpaint. Aside from being internationally recognized acts, they had something that we didn’t have: authoritative references. Most of their references came from huge sites, like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Stereogum and Tiny Mix Tapes. These sites were kind of out of our league. So instead we started identifying some local media outlets that we could reach out to for press, such as Broward Palm Beach New Times, southflorida.com and the Sun Sentinel. We also wrote a couple press releases for charity gigs we played and released them on major press release sites, like pr.com, Business Wire and PR Web.
After a couple of months, we compiled our press mentions and worked them into our Wikipedia page, using them to support the claims that we were making to help establish some credibility as a ‘notable’ band. This time, after hitting ‘publish,’ the most amazing thing happened: the page wasn’t deleted! The key to ensuring your page isn’t marked for deletion is including as many references as possible. Keep in mind that there are Wiki-elves that work day and night to police the content on Wikipedia, and unless the content you publish can be backed up by authoritative sources (i.e. not your personal blog), chances are the page will be deleted. Ok, there are no Wiki-elves, but the rest of that was true.
Having a Wikipedia page definitely comes with its benefits. Not only does it make you seem more important, but it can also improve your search visibility. Wikipedia has a very high domain authority so it tends to rank well in search engines. Google also extracts data from Wikipedia and uses it to provide fancy Knowledge Graph results. For instance, if you search for “Pretty Girls band” on Google, not only is our Wiki page the first result, but you can also see the Knowledge Graph box that displays some information, along with our band logo.
If you’ve tried this approach before and didn’t have much luck, feel free to leave a note in the comments below and I’ll take a look and see if I can help.