April 6, 2016

8 Killer Tips for Harnessing the Power of SlideShare

SlideShare is driving significant traffic for B2B marketers. Learn 8 tips for how to harness the power of SlideShare for lead generation.

Savvy marketers have called SlideShare the “sleeping giant.” But while this content distribution platform is giant, it’s no longer sleeping. The reach is massive, as it captures the attention of 70 million unique visitors monthly and is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world.

In fact, statistics show that SlideShare is driving higher results than some of the most popular social sharing sites. Business owners are receiving 500 percent more traffic from SlideShare than from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn. But many marketers aren’t tapping into its full potential. So how can you more effectively use this tool for maximum results?

1. The first step: research

Many marketers create content they think will perform well. But they unknowingly generate assets that miss the mark, as they overlook something very important: a highly strategic topic.

As with other marketing efforts, start by defining your target audience and brainstorming topics that will resonate with them. But don’t stop there — confirm that your hunches are correct.

Popular content tools, such as BuzzSumo, allow you to see what topics have produced the most viral results. You can use this to confirm your hunches or generate new ideas for SlideShare topics. Another option is looking for high-performing content that you already have produced — blog posts, webinars, or white papers. You can then turn those topics into SlideShare presentations.

2. Get attention … and keep it

On average, eight out of 10 people read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest of the article. So both your headline and the first slide must be stellar. Otherwise, every slide after the first doesn’t matter. For example, Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, captures attention right away on his first slide. He tells you the benefit (he’s going to crush common myths about social media and content marketing!) and divulge details that you don’t know about these topics.

Jonathon Colman, Product UX + Content Strategy at Facebook, generates interest on his first slide “Why our Content Sucks” delivering a headline that is unexpected, giving specific examples, and telling us how to make our content better.

Start by offering the reader a promise. What pain will your presentation relieve? Then design every slide after the first to facilitate the delivery of that promise. At the end of the SlideShare, your reader should feel satisfied and that they got what they expected — and even more.

3. Tell a story

Customers are experiencing information overload, with content inundating every corner of our lives. We consume about 74 gigabytes – nine DVDs worth – of data every day. “It’s amazing we’re able to process and make sense of it all,” wrote Susie East and Ben Tinker in CNN in 2015. But what can make your information memorable, what readers are actually demanding, is stories — with 92 percent saying they want brands to tell stories.

Integrating storytelling into your slides hits an emotional chord with readers, keeping them engaged throughout your content. Rachel Gillett of Fast Company wrote, “When we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well.” That’s engagement. One way successful brands are using this method in SlideShare is by telling customer stories. They highlight a common pain point and walk readers through the detailed solution, then finish the story with an upbeat picture of success. For example, Zappos shares stories about customers who are blown away by their service in the SlideShare deck “10 Inspiring Zappos Customer Support Stories.”

With the right language, this creates emotion that helps readers invest in the story and see themselves in it.

4. Create more frequently

Some marketers have experimented with SlideShare, but their efforts are inconsistent — and so are their results. When you create and update frequently your results will multiply.

This platform rewards presentations that were created most recently. So getting featured on SlideShare’s home page or top content lists is more likely if you create presentations often. Consider using this technique on older presentations by updating them to provide additional information and value.

5. Share your presentations

A well-created SlideShare presentation will generate organic traffic, but it’s also important to deploy a targeted promotion. Share through social media and embed the SlideShare in your existing website content.

Connecting with influencers when creating the presentation is also a powerful strategy. Get their ideas about the content. Then share the published SlideShare with influencers, and most likely they will share it with their own audiences, greatly expanding your reach.

6. Create an interactive experience

The functionality of SlideShare has come a long way since its inception. Most recently, it added multimedia capabilities, giving marketers tools to make their presentations highly interactive.

For example, you can insert YouTube videos. This is helpful for using SlideShare for step-by-step product demonstrations and tutorials about using products or services. Andreas Von Der Heydt, Head of Kindle at Amazon recently created “The 7 Qualities of a Successful Leader of the Future.” He designed slides that contain very few words and simple, straightforward graphics.

Content marketing agency Column Five embedded video into their deck to provide a deeper understanding of products and explain the value of data visualization.

Engage readers more deeply by leveraging these capabilities to bring your content to vivid life.

7. Think visually

Many marketers are thinking about SlideShare in the same way they think of other types of content such as blogs, case studies, or white papers. But SlideShare is much different because it’s truly a visual platform. This requires a shift in thinking.

For starters, avoid putting too many words on the slide. On average, 45 percent of SlideShare decks have 24 words per slide (which is about two average sentences). The highest performing presentations are generally about 10 to 30 slides total.. For example, Von Der Heydt recently created “The Magic to Think Big.” Most of the slides have 3 to 9 words each and the total deck includes only 17 slides.

So also consider the size of your presentation, and make it a visual and interactive experience.

8. Leverage existing content

You’re already hair-on-fire busy, and adding another project into the mix could be overwhelming. But another great thing about SlideShare is that you can repurpose other types of content, which is a huge time-saver. Take inventory of existing content marketing assets – especially those that performed well in the past.

For example, review your blog posts. Gather the best performers and leverage those tested posts to created SlideShare presentations. Twitter chats, webinars, infographics and eBooks are also great sources for SlideShare content.

Fueling growth in the future

You’ve got many different options available for content marketing, but SlideShare’s well worth considering, as it’s proving to be a highly effective tool. It can fuel growth, generate leads, and capture more organic traffic as you establish your company as a thought leader in your space.

The key is to test and modify often. Doing so will allow you to truly understand the topics and content that resonate and connect with your target audience most.

Have you used SlideShare in your content marketing efforts? If so, please share your experiences and tips. 

Curious how SideShare fits into your overall marketing strategy? Like all marketing channels SlideShare and social media specifically, are most effective when integrated into a larger cross-channel marketing plan.

Download Act-On’s eBook, “5 Ways to Integrate Social Media Across Marketing Channels,” to learn five things you can do right now to integrate social media marketing into your marketing strategy!