3 Tips for Dominating SlideShare

“Let’s make a SlideShare!” is becoming a common refrain for brands across the globe. Especially those in the B2B space.

It’s easy to see why. SlideShare experienced impressive growth in 2013, and it hasn’t slowed since. With surging popularity and preferred status on LinkedIn, brands showcased as “Featured” or “Most Popular” on the site have gained exposure to a host of new prospects and consumers. But all too often, brands’ SlideShares fall short.

Here’s what you have to do to effectively lure in leads and makes people hungry for more.

1. Finding a SlideShare-friendly topic

According to HubSpot writer Ginny Soskey, people are ultimately drawn to slices of shareable information instead of bloated chunks of text. “Quotes and stats are bite-sized,” she says, “Making them super easy to fit within the character limits of certain social platforms, and they help position the person who shared it as smart.”

One way to follow this strategy is to appeal to general interests. For example, mobile-app platform Kinvey selected a hackathon as their topic of choice for a slideshow, instead of exploring something more complicated and hyper-specific like the nuances of a programming language. Hackathons are relevant to developers, potential organizers, sponsors, and event coordinators, so Kinvey’s presentation appealed to a broader audience. Even if only one part of your audience will be potential leads, drawing in people indirectly related to sales will be crucial for generating future buzz.

If you have no idea where to begin, start with a story you’re already comfortable telling. “We’ll start writing a piece for the blog and realize a SlideShare could be an excellent addition,” says Soskey.

Marketo Senior Manager of Content Marketing Dayna Rothman seconds the idea of using existing material: “I usually base a SlideShare presentation off of a larger content piece to repurpose the content and tell a slightly different story. Some people like to read ebooks, and others like to view slide decks.” Rather than diving right into the design of a SlideShare presentation, start with a general outline that can simply be a point-form structure with three or four takeaways. The key is to make the takeaways direct and actionable.

2. The devil is in the details

The difference between good and bad SlideShare presentations comes down to vital design details that can be easily overlooked. “In addition to including our standard webinar decks in our SlideShare strategy, we also create highly customized and visual stories designed for SlideShare specifically,” Rothman says. “We find that these decks are the most likely to get featured.”

The opening slide must be punchy and well-designed, since it serves as the visual headline for the entire presentation. Rothman advises not to overdo it: “Don’t put too much on your title slide, both text and images, or you will immediately turn people off.” At Marketo, every presentation gets a second opinion. Rothman lets multiple colleagues examine the design before completion.

Wordiness is also a deal-breaker. In 2013, the average SlideShare slide contained 29 words. Achievers, a workplace software company, limits each slide to 15 words.

Lastly, ensure you have a “catcher’s mitt” for presentations. Achievers only released their decks after they had five SlideShares ready to go, so anyone checking out the company’s profile could view a substantial amount of content. And according to social media manager Katie Paterson, the strategy produced a 247-percent increase in social media leads in just the first quarter after launching.

3. One-click social sharing

“One of my favorite SlideShare features is its ability to have clickable links after the first three slides,” says Soskey. “We definitely take advantage of that feature to increase social sharing — we’ll add Twitter share links on slides with punchy soundbites.”

HubSpot eliminates as much clutter as possible so viewers will be more likely to share content. Much like how Amazon removes barriers for shoppers with one-click ordering, Soskey enables readers to share HubSpot SlideShare presentations on Twitter with one-click linking. You can use tools such as Click to Tweet to set up easy social sharing.

Closing thoughts

On SlideShare, your task is simple, but not easy: Pick a wide-reaching topic, follow design patterns and details, and make social sharing easier. This new distribution channel is a great place to build an audience—a virtual space where consumers and prospective clients congregate to read new ideas and find interesting stories to share. Brands may be used to text, but thanks to the benefits of SlideShare, they’re starting to see the big picture.

What’s the deal with The Content Strategist? It’s something we created at Contently because we believe in a world where marketing is helpful and where and businesses grow by telling stories that people love. Take advantage of our tools and talent and come build that world with us.

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