Is it time you started using SlideShare?

Is it time you started using SlideShare?

It’s been called the ‘quiet giant’ of the social web and it continues to power along despite very little media attention compared to social networking darlings Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

I’m talking of course about SlideShare, the online network where people share slide presentations uploaded in various formats, including PowerPoint, PDF or Apple’s Keynote. The platform also supports videos, podcasts and webinars.

The sheer size of SlideShare is impressive. According to its About page, SlideShare is the “world’s largest community for sharing presentations” with 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million page views, making it one of the top 200 sites on the internet.

However, when you consider the bulk of SlideShare’s audience is made up of business folk actively looking for information about one topic or another, the platform starts to get interesting for brands that produce original content for marketing and PR purposes, especially in the business-to-business arena.

According to Todd Wheatland, author of The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare, the six most-used tags on SlideShare are:

  1. Business
  2. Market
  3. Trends
  4. Research
  5. Social media
  6. Statistics

The fact SlideShare was acquired last year by LinkedIn makes it an even more interesting proposition as the former will look to integrate the latter into its platform in strategic ways (it has already started to do this – you can now embed SlideShare presentations into your LinkedIn profile).

Pleasantly surprised

Mitch Joel is a bona fide thought leader in the new media space. He’s a popular blogger, podcaster and best-selling author. He speaks at all the right conferences and runs Twist Image, a fast-growing digital marketing agency in Canada.

But even Joel, with all his knowledge, experience and expertise, was pleasantly surprised when 25+ Mind Blowing Stats About Business Today, a presentation he created to promote his new book CTRL ALT Delete, quickly surged to 45,000+ views on SlideShare.

At time of writing, a couple of weeks later, that number had jumped to 120,000. By contrast, a YouTube video featuring the same statistics – but produced by a third party, not Joel – had received just over 1000 views.

First – stop, take a deep breath

But before you rush out to sign up to SlideShare and upload the overly text-ridden PowerPoint presentation from last year’s conference, stop. Take a deep breath and relax.

In all likelihood, you will be wasting your time, because no one will be interested.

Firstly, like any social media or personal publishing platform, your content needs to be of a high quality. Does it inform, educate or entertain?

Is it utility-based content, does it solve a problem or need that people have? Or is it more thought leadership-based, a commentary on a trend, an extrapolation of a theory or concept or idea you’ve been road-testing?

Design counts for a lot on SlideShare

Just as text-heavy PowerPoint presentations don’t work in the boardroom, theatrette or conference venue, similarly they’re not overly popular on SlideShare.

Use your presentation to not only inform people, but take them on a visual journey.

Here are some tips from SlideShare experts, Slides That Rock:

  • Hone your message/takeaways. What do you want your audience to remember afterwards?
  • Keep it simple. Less is more, so just have one message per slide.
  • Use cool fonts – no Arial or Comic Sans – quality images with meaning and awesome colours (remember – ‘pick a scheme that fits your theme’).

Expert blogger David Brier suggests showing more and talking less. “When in doubt, trim the fat,” he says in this article.

State the problem upfront – it’s best if it’s a “big picture type of trend” – and then talk about the solution.

Brier – whose SlideShare presentations have garnered over 300,000 views – says it’s been reported that 45% of the presentations on SlideShare have 10-30 slides with an average of 24 words per slide

I know I’m behind the eight-ball when it comes to SlideShare, and it’s something I plan to rectify soon! What about you?

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