How to Put Together a Winning Investor Presentation

One of the trickiest obstacles businesses face is crafting an effective presentation that will appeal to investors.

Both new and established companies at some point face having to raise capital to operate and grow their business.

The most popular way to introduce and solicit investment in a project is via the investor pitch presentation, which typically takes the form of deck of slides created with a program like PowerPoint or Prezi. The pitch deck has a lot of uses, for example:

  • A new company looking for institutional investors.
  • A private equity fund soliciting companies to manage through merger and acquisition, partnerships, or capital market listing.
  • An established company looking to take on additional debt obligation with a bank.
  • A financial advisor looking to present an alternative investment to an accredited investor.

At its core, though, the investor presentation’s primary goal is to raise money for your company.

It could be initial funding for a new business or it could be follow-on investment for an existing business. Or, perhaps it could be to explore taking on additional debt.

So, how do you create a presentation that’s compelling enough to entice investors and get results? You’ll need a well-constructed pitch that transcends the skeletal framework and ignites interest.

Before you dig into individual pieces, you need to consider architecture. Which slides will you use and how will you order them? How densely populated with information will each slide be?

By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what you may or may not want to include in your presentation, and we’ll address some tips on how to get started crafting your own winning presentation.

Your investor presentation will only be limited by your imagination, the idea you’re pitching, and how well you know your audience. That said, most presentations share a few “standard” slides that form the foundation of nearly every successful investor presentation.


“Wait, Can’t I Just Download a Template?”

You can find a wealth of (often) free resources, templates or examples that you can adapt for your specific business goal. But keep in mind–as your business is likely to have unique characteristics,

the most important pieces of an investor presentation can’t be found in a canned formTweet this

And it’s unlikely that you’ll find a single template deck that addresses all the audiences to whom you may be pitching.

Who are you? What do you do?

The first thing you’ll want to present is a brief introduction to your company. At its longest, think “elevator pitch”: you’ll want something that immediately and concisely tells your audience who you are and what you do.

Be specific and focus on the things that make your company, idea, or product unique. Try to avoid describing your company in relation to other established companies, products, or services (for example, “Think of us as the Apple of underwater basket weaving” or “We’re the LinkedIn for anti-social people”).

Sequoia Capital, one of the most successful Silicon Valley investment firms recommends that you “define the company/business in a single declarative sentence,” just as Mapme did in their deck.


What Problem Do You Solve?

What need does your product or service fulfill? What problem do you solve? Why is your company qualified to provide the solution?

This slide is your chance to lay the groundwork for what you do, what you offer, a bit about your company’s philosophy, and, most importantly, to begin building out the narrative for your audience.

What makes you more qualified than anyone else to deliver on results? How is your product or service unique? Has your marketing team devised a clear, cohesive description of your unique selling proposition? Why should investors commit their capital to your project?

Airbnb perfectly articulates the problems it addresses in an example of one of the most successful startup pitches in history:


Market Size

Like all the components of your presentation, you should approach defining your market size thoughtfully before committing this to description.

Think about not only the markets currently covered but also take into consideration the way your market has shifted historically, the potential “unseens” you either anticipate or that have customarily affected your market, be they cyclical or otherwise.

Illustrate that you’ve put some thought into both vertical and horizontal pieces of the market size question.

You want your audience to have both a concrete foundation from which to realistically draw conclusions and stars in their eyes as far as potential. Dwolla’s payment solution pitch is unrivalled in the way it piques the investor’s imagination:

The Solution

Here’s where you get to show how your product or service addresses the problem you’ve outlined earlier – and, more importantly, where you get to explain why your product or service warrants a capital investment.

The below example from YouTube, concisely articulates its key benefits to end users and, ultimately, to investors.


The Competition

You claim that you’ve managed to revolutionize the underwater basket weaving process — but there are other players in your market saying the same thing.

What are they doing?

What threats do they pose to your market share?

How have they fared in the past and what are their plans for the future?

Potential investors will look for candor in your presentation of the competition, and it’s very possible that they will know the competitive landscape of your industry as well as you do.

This is your chance to let your audience know that you understand your market inside and out. One of the best ways to build your own credibility is actually by talking about what other people are doing.

This is perhaps the trickiest and, usually, the most glossed-over piece of an investor presentation. But as illustrated by Castle’s pitch below, your analysis of the competition doesn’t have to be complicated or over-massaged.

A single, simple slide can go a long way.


Your Team

You’ll want to introduce the most important members of your team, such as key executives. But don’t get carried away with their bios. Limit this component of your presentation to a few key items that are directly relevant to your pitch. This makes it easier for your investor to identify the common thread and connects the relevance of your team to the project being pitched.

Anne-Marie Maman, executive director for the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council at Princeton University, stresses the importance of presenting the right team face to potential investors.

“One of the most important things is for investors to know the team and to show that the members of the team are people that can lever their experience,” “And it’s extremely important to show how those team members have delivered in the past.”-Anne-Marie Maman

Investors, then, will want to see how well the key team members know their market, know their challenges, and display a good track record of success.

Wealthsimple, a Canadian investment management service, took a page out of LinkedIn’s pitch to provide just the right amount of relevance and firepower to lend legitimacy to its team slide, and found the right balance between individuality and cohesiveness.


This is a critical component of your pitch deck: Before they part with their money, potential investors will want to will want to know how you plan to use the proceeds from investment capital and debt, as well as your projected returns on investment, and your terms for repayment or investment exit.

Again, the audience, the context, and your unique pitch will all play a part in determining what financial information will be relevant to your presentation, but it will likely include some or all of the following:

  • Balance sheets
  • Earnings
  • Expenditures
  • Production
  • Growth markers
  • Sales figures
  • Stock performance

In presenting numbers, be aware of your audience. While net EBITDA or projected EPS may figure prominently in your pitch, always remember that the best way to talk about and present financials is to show, don’t tell.

Charts and spreadsheets might seem the easiest, most efficient ways to present financials, but strive toward simplicity for the sake of not obscuring the simple questions and trends that you want highlighted.

SEO company MOZ did a great job of keeping their finances simple, concise, and clear.



You’ve presented a problem and solution by now, introduced the key members of the team, and laid out essential financial data.

Now it’s time to get investors excited about what you’ve accomplished to date and to walk them through your plan for what’s to come.

You might want to talk about new products launched or in the pipeline, year-to-date progress compared to stated goals, what next year’s plan looks like, and where you see the opportunities for driving growth. And while not all trajectories are as stellar as the example below from pay-per-click optimization company SteadyBudget, the slide below offers an example of a clear, concise infographic:


Everything Else: Appendices

If you’ve agonized about incorporating just the right amount of data and explanation into your presentation, appendices should take some of the pressure off constructing a streamlined deck.

Appendices serve as a catch-all for much of the meat you may have left out of your presentation for the sake of simplicity, such as:

  • Detailed financial statements or forecasts
  • A more complete breakdown of your competitive analysis, specific technologies or services
  • Key marketing data

Appendices serve two main purposes.

They allow you to focus on the fundamentals for clarity in your presentation and they provide you credibility in demonstrating to potential investors that you’ve done your homework and that it’s available for those who may want to dig deeper.

Putting it All Together

As you’ve probably already determined from looking at the standard guts of an investor presentation, there’s an art to presenting your information, whether it’s the key messaging in your company’s marketing platform or specific financial data critical to communicating what investors should expect, paramount is finding the secret sauce that speaks to your particular audience.

The most effective part of a successful investor presentation is the story.

Some businesses, most often startups, have been known to focus heavily on telling a story.

Many pitches owe their success to the crafting of a compelling narrative that speaks both to the mind and to the gut.

At its simplest, narrative form consists of delineating a lack and the liquidation of that lack.

As we’ve witnessed through time, folktales and legends illustrate how everyone can connect with a story that speaks to them.

Keeping in mind this basic paradigm can serve as your formal guide to crafting your message.

At the same time, though, it’s important not to lose sight of your goal.

Maman offers this insight: “Business plans for many startups seem to have gone by the wayside.” She says that, while a good story and an effective introduction to the key members of the team are critical, it’s still important to show that the business has put the work into really understanding its key metrics and plans.

Maman also recommends that “if you’re going to present a business plan, make it visual—use a short video, for example, but make sure it’s something that won’t put your audience to sleep.”

In summary, the best investor presentations feature a convergence of each of the important elements discussed in the right doses for the audience to whom you’re presenting.

Build a strong narrative, present it in as concise a fashion as possible, and know your business.



Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale, 1928 (translated to English 1958). The American Folklore Society and Indiana University.


How to craft a winning press release

What is a press release and how is it used?

The first press release was facilitated by public relations industry “founder, Ivy Lee, in response to a 1906 New Jersey train wreck. Lee wanted to ensure that details about the crash were communicated from the Pennsylvania Railroad to media (in this case, The New York Times).

The idea was generated based on Lee’s philosophy that public relations personnel have an obligation to foster ethical public reporting—that is, to share company information in an unbiased and transparent way.

A press release provided an immediate and formal communication tool for directing accurate information to media personnel to ensure clear reporting from a reputable news source.

(Source: CSION)

From that day forward, public relations professionals began to use the press release as a go-between communication tool between organizations and the press. They were sent to media contacts with specific, previously unpublished or unpublicized details.

A press release would have, for instance, advised media teams of the scope of an emerging story (such as the train wreck), plus where and when reporters could arrive on scene to cover an important story. Having an easily recognizable format also ensured that editors would note a press release as a relatively urgent call to action and (hopefully) prioritize its distribution accordingly.

Back in the day, press releases would have consisted of a few formal elements which are still used today:

• A letterhead/logo
• An informative, brief headline
• Date information (e.g.: “for immediate release”)
• A soundbite (e.g.: a relevant quote from the CEO)
• Relevant information (e.g.: statistics)
• A company “boilerplate” (“about” section)
• A press kit/visuals
• Editor’s notes



Today, press release content is not limited to “newsy” events. We can use press releases to announce almost anything: mergers, product launches, openings, scientific advancements, new funding initiatives, etc.

Anything an organization deems newsworthy can theoretically be shared via this format. The trick is presenting it in such a way that the media personnel on the receiving end also deem the announcement as a story worthy of coverage, rather than an advertisement.

It’s up to the press release writer to maintain a journalistic tone, opposed to simply presenting advertising in a press release format, says Lisa Avery, previous publications manager for the Regina Regional Opportunities Commission (now Economic Development Regina Inc.).

“Essentially you are going to be in competition for ad space, but you aren’t paying for ad space. You have to make it stand out enough against both paying advertisers and other (non-PR) news, so you’ve really got to craft it into a story.” ~ Lisa Avery

Your story can certainly touch on your brand and products, but it must also offer something of value to the audience beyond just “here’s a product to buy.”

For instance, the Capital Records example above tells a story about factors that potentially contributed to its high profits—presumably for the purposes of attracting business investors—rather than just saying “buy our records!”

The relevance of the press release in the digital world

As media evolves from primarily print to mostly digital, the nature of the entire publishing industry is changing along with it. According to, in 2016, only about 20 percent of Americans got their news from print newspapers, with most others getting theirs from either TV or web-based media.

As far as written content goes, people no longer rely on professional journalists for primary news reports. All they need to do is check the latest app or open their Twitter feed, and the latest “news” is delivered instantaneously.

Businesses more frequently produce their own PR material for internal or affiliate publications, and small, indie publications publish blog articles from “armchair journalists” without necessarily maintaining professional journalism standards of ethics. In addition, some 60 percent of journalists are finding their stories online.

While there are many advantages to having a more open stream of information coming at us, there is far less regulation with regards to accuracy and ethics in reporting—basically, anyone can write and publish almost anything they want. Various forms of “fake news” are floating around everywhere. Or, at the very least, facts are not consistently reported thoroughly or accurately today.

Another concern is that the original intent of the press release seems to have gone astray—it’s often used as an inbound marketing device these days, rather than a reporting tool. Given this trend, and the shifts in the way businesses, consumers, and journalists are consuming and publishing media, some have been proclaiming the “death” of the press release.

It is fair to say that to the extent that the press release was originally meant to be a frequent, formal, and immediate communication tool, it’s not being used in the same way as it was, or as often.

But given the world’s affinity for (potentially) “fake news” these days, the press release may be more important than ever.

 Preparing and crafting a newsworthy press release

Press releases can still be effective tools for unbiased and interesting reporting when carefully composed and targeted appropriately.

But before sitting down to write a press release (or almost anything, for that matter), you need to have a clear understanding of their purpose, as well as how it will be received on the other end. If you don’t write something that will be of genuine interest to journalists and audiences, you’re just wasting your time.

So, before you start, ask yourself:

  • What is your intent in getting the message out? Is it self-serving, or genuinely educational/interesting?
  • Who will genuinely care about this issue—beyond the scope of this industry or business context—enough to respond to your call to action?
  • Is it newsworthy? How important is this story in the grand scheme of things? (Consider such factors as timing, relevance, implications, conflict, human interest, call to action, crosslinking potential, etc.)

You’ll want to ensure that you gather your information carefully as you prepare.  This may include clearing details with your company’s CEO, collaborating with relevant staff, and double-checking details about other participants who may be involved in the resulting news story.

Elma Glasgow, copywriter and PR consultant for major charitable organizations, recommends that people working with sensitive information take extra care with the preparation step.

“Be very mindful of the content you are including in the release, and which spokespeople you are using. For instance, if you’re working for a social welfare charity you will need to confirm that any beneficiaries mentioned or quoted have given their permission. Some people are more than happy to talk about the amazing help they’ve received, whereas others prefer not to get involved. It’s essential to treat individuals or communities with dignity and respect to ensure their own welfare, and to retain the integrity of the charity’s work.” ~ Elma Glasgow

Here are some more expert tips on designing your press release:

  • Leave out hyperbole, clickbait, long-winded explanations, and claims that cannot be backed up.
  • Include contact information, including names, for people in your organization.
  • Craft a headline that is clear, specific, informative, and unbiased. Depending on the context/industry, you may have a little more leeway to play this up and make it sexy—but stay relevant. If you’re not sure, keep it simple for editors, and they can spice it up if they decide to accept it and re-work it.
  • Follow these Associated Press style guidelines.
  • Send the press release in the body of an email rather than as an attachment. Anything that ends up being an extra step for a busy editor can end up working against you.
  • Include your own relevant visuals (videos, charts, graphs, and high-quality photos). You will want to include high res, JPG images as attachments and clarify that you own the rights. Depending on the context, you may want to offer the publication exclusive rights to the images. If you don’t have images, journalists will find their own if they choose to publish, so don’t include things like Creative Commons images.
  • Your boilerplate, which should include a mission statement and contact information.

How to get busy editors to notice your press release

Editors on the hunt for stories are on major information overload 99 percent of the time—so part of creating an effective press release submission is really about capturing their attention…and fast. Offer them something of interest to their readers, and be up front and respectful as you build relationships with them.

Jamie Khoo, former journalist for a major women’s fashion magazine, recommends that you get to know the ins and outs of the publication itself—what types of articles it features, the voice, what types of images work best in the given context, and so on. She also stresses the importance of personalizing each press release.

You should also:

  • Keep an updated database/media list for industry-relevant publications.
  • Understand the tone and voice of each publication before submitting your press release, and keep abreast of articles so as not to send duplicate ideas.
  • Find the hook! The more specialized your industry/content is, the more important it is to connect with editors of publications in your specific area.
  • Frame your story in such a way that it stands out. Editors need you to show them something new.
  • Get to know your editors!

“Make a personal connection without being annoying. Face time dramatically decreases the chances of them ignoring your name in the inbox. Reporters are busy. If they don’t want calls, respect that. But invite them to have coffee or lunch, reach out to them at networking events, follow them on social media, and show you appreciate and follow their work.” ~ Amy Robertson, Strategic Communications Specialist

The editor should be clear on why they are reading within the first few seconds of scanning the piece. They should understand clearly what the message is for the end user.

The press release is often used as an implicit branding tool, but remember that in this genre, form fits purpose. By its very nature, it’s not the same as a pitch or an ad. This is information to send to the press for them to re-work and distribute as they see fit, so it’s crucial to send them relevant information, not fluff.

Press releases as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools

Given the digital format of most media today, it may seem like a logical step to format press releases to be published online as traffic-generating tools. While this is entirely possible and can be a good method for some, sending press releases “on the wire” (e.g.: through sites like PR Newswire) does not have the same sort of story and connectivity power behind it that a well-written and targeted press release can.

Even though journalists and editors are finding some of their stories online, many media professionals are still interested in receiving compelling, well-crafted, relevant press releases for story material.

Here’s an example of a press release distributed via PR Newswire that was subsequently posted word for word by this digital publication:

Does the ease with which we can publish digitally mean that we should just put advertorial content online and call it a press release in the hopes that it gets picked up by the press, or should our targeting be more deliberate and specific?

Several years ago, when companies started to print a lot of their content on their own sites, they figured out that press releases could be solid SEO tools and began to use them frequently in inbound marketing.

“This shift led to a glut of releases that were no longer “real news,” but promotional content stuffed with keywords and hyperlinks to affiliated sites and networks designed to ‘game the system’ and put the content on page one of the search engines.” ~  Sara Callahan, owner of Carter West Public Relations.

This trend essentially tempered the strength of the genre as a credible reporting tool: without the neutrality offered by professional reporting, these “press releases” were akin to self-promotion. But Google noticed this, and responded by adjusting their algorithm to punish organizations setting up clickbait-type press releases by reclassifying these types of sites as link schemes.

Today, going heavy on the SEO is clearly not going to benefit your business, and publishing at sites like PR Newswire may or may not be of definitive benefit. Either way, it appears the more companies try to “dress up” their digital ads as press releases and either self-publish or distribute via somewhat anonymous channels, the more their press releases are perceived as blatant, biased PR tools rather than informative stories.

Beyond that, there is a growing trend towards high-quality, engaging content, so whether you’re publishing digitally or not, there is a definitive benefit in preparing, crafting, and targeting press releases as a part of an effective and respectable marketing strategy that benefits organizations, publications and the public in a genuine way.

Celebrating 15 Years in Business

When Wintress Odom started writing 15 years ago, she never imagined that The Writers For Hire would become a full-fledged business with dozens of employees. Even five years after the article below was published in The Houston Chronicle, she still marvels at the growth and changes the business has been through. Join us as we reminisce over the next few weeks about the journey from there to here.

Click the image below to view the full article.




Starbucks’ New Instant Coffee Ad: Love it or Hate it?

In an earlier blog post, I cautioned against ad campaigns that were too trendy or topical, but Starbucks’ new “Via” TV ad is an edgy, hilarious example of why it’s sometimes okay to buck convention. In addition to promoting their new instant coffee, Starbucks takes on a touchy (and waaaay timely) subject: town hall meetings.

If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here.

Personally, I love it. I think Starbucks took a bit of a risk, and I think they struck the right balance of social criticism and goofy humor. Unsurprisingly, I’ve also seen some negative buzz from viewers who didn’t see it that way: Some feel that by spoofing modern political discourse, the coffee retailer went too far.

What do you think? Did Starbucks cross a line that shouldn’t be crossed? Or is this a great example of edgy, up-to-the-minute advertising?

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Astroturfing: The Icky Side of Social Media Marketing

It’s disingenuous. It’s dishonest. And, it’s everywhere.

It’s called “astroturfing”. Chances are, you’ve been exposed to it. And, if the folks behind it have done their jobs right, the chances are pretty good that you didn’t even know it.

Social media is powerful stuff. In its most basic form, it’s the high-tech equivalent of your best friend recommending Gap jeans or your next-door neighbor telling you that she never shops at XYZ grocery store anymore because the cashiers are rude.
The truth is, we’re all influenced by what our friends think. Most of us buy books or see films based on the recommendations of friends we trust. We’re probably more likely to try a new restaurant if a few people from work say the food’s good. And yes, if everybody jumped off a bridge . . .

Well, we’d probably at least think about it for a second.

But imagine if your friend was getting kickbacks from the Gap. If every time she plugged her favorite jeans, she got fifty bucks. Or if your neighbor was getting free groceries from XYZ grocery store’s competitors whenever she badmouthed the competition.

Ick, right?

Continue reading “Astroturfing: The Icky Side of Social Media Marketing”

Why Copywriters and Journalists Just Can’t Get Along

Versatile writers are hard to find. For a long time I was surprised when I’d get great journalism samples from a writer, but the minute I put them on a copywriting project, it was a total flop – and vice versa. But I’ve finally discovered the disconnect: the real reason that some writers have such a hard time, fundamentally, switching between these two genres. The reason is that organization-wise, journalism is the opposite of copywriting.

Let me explain…

The purpose of journalistic writing is NOT to tell the reader everything – at least not right away. You want to tease. You want to raise questions in the readers mind. You want them to keep reading to find out what you mean by your headline, or to discover the solution to the problem that you posed in your intro. In journalism, you want to create intrigue.

The purpose of copywriting is opposite. You want to get your biggest baddest benefit for your product upfront, in the reader’s face, no holds barred. You want to lead with a benefit that the reader needs to have. You don’t want secrets. You don’t want intrigue. And you certainly don’t want to depend on the reader actually reading your copy.

To help clarify what I mean, following are a couple of examples of the right and wrong ways to start a journalistic article vs. a copywriting piece.

Good and Bad Journalism:

Wrong: When I arrived at my guest house, a special turn-down present of olive oils, vinegars, and recipes nestled in my down pillows. It was signed by Chef Eric Francis.

Why is this bad? You’ve given the reader all the information they need in these lines. It doesn’t raise any questions. It doesn’t compel them to read on. Basically, it’s boring.

So how do you fix it? I mean, after all, how exciting can writing about some resort be? Try something like this…

Right: Chef Eric Francis gifts a signature keepsake to all of Calistoga’s visitors – and it’s not served with dinner.

See? Now the reader wants to find out what the keepsake might be. This technique works with fiction too, but what it doesn’t work with is, you guessed it: Copywriting!


Good and Bad Copywriting:

Wrong: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But it shouldn’t cost you millions to manage your brand.

Here, the writer is obviously attempting to raise curiosity in the reader, much you like you might do with a journalistic piece. But this is exactly the wrong thing to do in good copywriting. In good copywriting you do not want to waste time trying to tease readers along. I believe it was Bob Bly who said that when a reader comes across a curiosity headline he will read it if he has time; when he comes across a benefit-oriented headline, he will make the time to read it. That mantra goes for copywriting intros as well. You need to lead with your best benefit. First. Always.

So…the right way to start this ad would be something like:

Right: CRS staging sets are more affordable than traditional, bulky sets, and they can be customized, shipped, and ready on site within five working days.

Now, if you were looking for a staging set, wouldn’t you be interested?

Twitter for Small Businesses: Is it Worth it?

Have you heard yourself saying something similar to this: Social media isn’t for me or my business. Twitter is just for kids. My clients don’t care about that kind of stuff.

Well, think again.

Nielsen NetRatings just published a surprising research study: Teen’s don’t Tweet. That’s right, 84% of Twitter’s recent growth is due to users aged 24 and up. Chances are you already know someone – a client, a friend, a neighbor, a family member – who’s addicted to Twitter. Read the full article here.

So the big question…

Should you or your business get on the Twitter bandwagon? The answer is yes, probably. Continue reading “Twitter for Small Businesses: Is it Worth it?”

Make More Money by Self-Publishing Online

I was listening to the radio when my ears perked up by some extra-pertinent information: how the business of publishing is changing – and how authors are making more money than ever using the internet.

There have traditionally been two ways to get your book in front of a mass audience: Continue reading “Make More Money by Self-Publishing Online”

Should You or Your Business Be on Wikipedia? The Pros and Cons.

Everyone uses Wikipedia – in fact, if I see a Wikipedia entry come up on a Google search, that’s usually the first link I click on.

Can Wikipedia be used for marketing purposes? The answer is certainly – though probably not in the way you think.

A Wikipedia entry on you or your business isn’t going to directly sell widgets or get you your next commissioned painting. However, what it will do is add credibility to your name or brand by putting it up on the web for everyone to see. But, like most things in life, there are a few drawbacks to using Wikipedia.


Pro #1: It’s fact-based. Every entry in Wikipedia reads like a page out of the Encyclopedia Britannica. There aren’t any opinions, hype, or marketing ploys allowed on Wikipedia – although the users who post information may be motivated by an opinion they have. Because it’s fact-based, you’ve got an opportunity here to tell people exactly what you do and how you do it, to provide little-known company information and other things that might get lost in your marketing messages or buried in your company website.

Pro #2: It adds legitimacy to your name or brand. Because Wikipedia is a third-party, public website, information on your Wikipedia page may be more valuable to a potential customer than some of the information on your website. You’re accessing potentially millions and millions of users on their terms – no jingles, no T.V. commercials, no propaganda.

Pro #3: You can direct it … in a way. Rather than letting users start your Wikipedia page that may be riddled with errors or even meant to be a low-blow to your good name (see Con #2), why not start the page yourself – that way, you can direct the type of information that’s listed on your page. That’s one way to manage your reputation and point out information that may be little-known. Reference a news article. Link to your website. As long as you stay within the Wikipedia guidelines, you can shape the look and tone of your Wiki entry.


Con #1. Wikipedia isn’t reliable. Yes, it may seem reliable – and it’s certainly popular, often treated as The Bible for any obscure fact that no one could possibly know. I’m sure it’s settled many bets, and probably ended a few friendships. The information is based on user entries, and can be changed or modified by anyone who wants to. Not everything you see on Wikipedia is a proven fact, though it should be. Which leads me to my next point…

Con #2: Anyone can change your Wikipedia entry. That’s right, anyone: a miffed customer, disgruntled ex-employee, the brother-in-law that hates you, even one of your competitors. Anything on your Wikipedia page can have its validity challenged or be modified by anyone. This is good because it keeps some companies from hiding any past missteps – remember, Wikipedia is about public information, not PR. But beware that your Wikipedia page is vulnerable to anyone who disagrees with the information it contains.

Con #3: It needs constant patrol. Since you can’t control all of the information on your site, it’s important that your Wikipedia page doesn’t completely destroy your reputation. Be sure to check your entry regularly to see if it’s been changed – and how it’s been changed. Certainly allow users to contribute whatever they’ve got to your entry – this isn’t a time to let your controlling tendencies get to you. But in order to make sure that your good name isn’t being dragged through the mud by a customer, ex-employee, brother-in-law, etc., you’re going to have to monitor it and respond accordingly.

Remember, nothing on Wikipedia is set in stone. It’s constantly evolving and growing, with new additions and deletions from a collaboration of users. And that fluidity can end up helping or tarnishing your brand if left unchecked.

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