Are you on SlideShare?
If you’re a content marketer, or have invested in content marketing, you definitely should be.
SlideShare isn’t just a place to park your PowerPoint presentations — it offers a robust, highly engaged community and one of the most effective distribution channels a marketer could hope for. With an average of 60 million unique visitors per month and presentation categories ranging from marketing to design to education, you’re sure to find a sizeable chunk of your audience in the land of virtual slide decks.
We were later to the party than I’d like to admit here at Uberflip, having incorporated SlideShare into our own content strategy just earlier this year. In fact, the catalyst to us really taking the reigns on using the platform was our own integration with it. Lucky for us, we were able to make up for lost time. It turns out that a little effort goes a long way when it comes to optimizing your content for SlideShare (the most important being actually putting it up there — who knew?), and we’ve had great results in a relatively short amount of time.
Here’s how we were able to get 121,337 views (and counting) in just 6 months.
1. Choosing the right topics
We climbed aboard the SlideShare train when it was already going full speed ahead, and wanted to start off with something we knew would gain traction. So we used one of our favorite content creation tactics — recycling! Not only does this take the guessing game out of how well a piece of content will resonate with viewers, it makes existing content go that extra mile. It also allows your already busy team to spend less time on ideation and more time on execution. Win-win-win.
For our official SlideShare debut, we chose a then-recent blog post that did exceptionally well in terms of page views and shares: 10 CMOs Who Are Kicking Ass (And What You Can Learn From Them). Not only was it a popular post, we felt its content and “listicle” structure would translate well to a slide deck (SlideShare works best when used as a visual medium, so if you’re going to repurpose existing content, try to picture it becoming at least 50% image-based). As a bonus, it featured 10 CMOs who are big players in the marketing industry. If our deck caught the attention of even one of these influencers and they decided to share it, our distribution could skyrocket. And it did (otherwise I’d be writing a different blog post)! Here’s the final version — currently sitting at 9,140 views and 149 downloads.
Since then, we’ve created 12 more slide decks as part of our visual content strategy. Some are recycled versions of existing content, like this headlines deck based on a popular webinar we had, and some are 100% original pieces like these creativity tips. So far, our most successful pieces have been design focused, centered around influencers, or just plain fun.
2. Making them look good
As I said before, SlideShare is best used as a visual medium. While text-heavy decks can definitely see success on the platform, your best bet is to create something that’s great to look at as well as informative, educational, or entertaining, for optimal sharing and engagement. We’re lucky to have an awesome design team at Uberflip (and until recently, a hybrid designer/marketer who was our resident SlideShare master — miss you, Jose!) who can whip up beautiful presentation designs. But there are also tons of design resources and tools out there for people who couldn’t Photoshop their way out of a paper bag. We even created some of our own SlideShare design templates that you can use for free.
When designing our slide decks, we’ve tried to stay generally consistent with our own style (like we use in our infographics), and will often create a design theme around the topic. Sometimes that theme directly aligns with the content, like a jungle motif for avoiding “navigation jungle” with your content marketing design, and sometimes we just want to use cats. In any case, we want you to enjoy looking at our presentations as much as you enjoy reading them.
It’s not all about looking pretty, though. We also take into account the flow of the presentation, whether the images compete with the information vs. complement it, readability, and so on. I’m no design expert though (understatement), so instead of attempting to offer any expertise on the subject, here’s a post from the folks at SlideShare themselves on the 6 dos and don’ts of presentation design.
3. Getting them out there
It goes without saying that we start sharing the shizz out of our presentations on social media as soon as they’re ready. Because visual pieces are less frequently published and a little more “exciting” than say, a regular blog post, we always put a bit more promotional force behind them.
If companies or people are included in the presentation, we’ll frequently mention them on Twitter or any other social network we’re able to. We’ll also make sure to share with any LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities, etc., that a presentation is relevant to. This can be said for any type of content but because slide decks are a particularly engaging format, you’re likely to see a greater ROI on the time you put into distributing them. When it comes to SlideShares specifically, put those beautiful slides to use as a way to grab your audience’s attention. Attach an especially eye-catching slide to a tweet so it will stand out in your followers’ feeds or share it on Facebook and Google+ as a photo post. And make sure to mention in the copy that it’s a SlideShare so people know they’re in for something special.
Now for a little trick: Get your colleagues and friends to share your presentation on their social networks as soon as you can. This isn’t an exact science, but we suspect that a combination of good content and immediate shares triggers something on the SlideShare platform that will get you featured on their homepage (and tweeted out by @SlideShareToday). We’ve gotten every single one of our presentations on the homepage so far, which has been monumental in getting eyeballs on our content. Even if we’re wrong, it doesn’t hurt to have more people sharing your presentation anyway!
Have you had great success with SlideShare? What are your tips for making the most of this awesome platform? Let us know in the comments!