I will admit that I was not an early adopter of SlideShare. The sales pitch of, “you can share presentation decks with other people,” just wasn’t all that appealing.
“Why,” I wondered immediately, “would someone willingly explore a presentation outside of a meeting where they are compelled to do so?”
But with SlideShare now among the top 120 websites in the world, it seems that the time has come to reconsider its possibilities.1
These are the criteria that we’re using here at MarketerGizmo to decide whether or not the time has come to adopt SlideShare.
Why You Should Consider SlideShare: A Handy Graphic
5 Prerequisites for Using SlideShare
There is a tendency for marketers to get too schizophrenic in their adoption of marketing channels, which results in a scattered approach that doesn’t fully exploit any particular part of their strategy.
To avoid this pitfall, make sure you’re at a point where SlideShare fits comfortably into your marketing arsenal.
1. Create Beautiful SlideShare Presentations Quickly
If it takes you two days to make a fourteen slide presentation that only nets you a couple dozen conversions, the ROI for each deck that you share isn’t going to be stellar.
To get the most bang for your SlideShare buck you need to be able to create a visually compelling, information-packed slideshare deck in under 4 hours. The faster the better.
It may take you a few tries to dial in your creation process, so don’t despair if your first deck takes a bit too long. As with anything, you’ll get speedier as time goes on.
Not a graphic designer? Never fear. There are hundreds of free templates out in the internet that you can grab and edit to fit your content.
To hit this goal you’re probably going to need to repurpose existing content, which you should be doing as part of your content marketing strategy anyway.
2. Conversions Built into SlideShare Content
Just getting on SlideShare so people will see your pretty decks isn’t a strong marketing goal. Views are meaningless without a solid (and trackable) conversion funnel attached to them.
This conversion can be anything that you want (email subscription, downloading the deck or another resource, becoming a follower on social media, buying a product, etc.).
The important thing is that the conversion is tied directly to the content of the deck.
If you make a deck about the “10 Best Silly Gifs of the Week” and insert a call to action of “Subscribe to Our B2B Marketing Newsletter” on the last slide, you’ve created a significantly disconnect between the deck’s content and your conversion process.
Before you start creating a deck, you should know what conversion it’s striving to achieve and work toward that as a natural outcome from viewing the deck.
For example, if you want people to sign up for your B2B Newsletter, it makes much more sense to create a “10 Most Underused B2B Marketing Channels” deck.
3. Targeted Landing Page for SlideShare Traffic
This prerequisite is directly related to #2; without a good landing page to help people along the path to conversion your SlideShare strategy won’t ever bear fruit.
If you’ve shared the content from your SlideShare deck in other places, you could use an existing landing page.
Or if you’re using your SlideShare call to action elsewhere you may have a page that makes sense as a landing page.
Where it comes from doesn’t matter nearly as much as its relevancy. So if you’re asking people to make a specific purchase (e.g. Buy my ebook!) at the end of your presentation you should be sending them directly to that ebook’s page on your site. If they land on your “Publications” page and have to hunt for the ebook they wanted, they’re likely to abandon the process before completion.
4. Solid Content Marketing Distribution on Existing Channels
Do an honest review of your current distribution strategy: on a scale of 1-5, how well are you doing? If it’s not a strong 4 or 5, don’t throw SlideShare into the mix (at least not without pulling something else out).
SlideShare is like any other channel: it does the best when it receives regular attention.
This goes beyond just posting decks and walking away. You need to be promoting your decks on other social media channels and embedding them on your website, but you also have to follow other SlideShare accounts, comment on decks, and do all those other time-consuming but critical social media tasks.
If you don’t feel confident that you can do that, keep SlideShare in your back pocket for a while longer.
If, on the other hand, you think SlideShare might offer a better ROI than Facebook or Pinterest, put those on autopilot and focus on SlideShare for a while.
5. A Reasonable Presence on LinkedIn
One channel you shouldn’t neglect while using SlideShare is Linkedin. The professional portal bought SlideShare back in 2012, and it’s a partnership that you should be putting to work to achieve your content marketing goals.
LinkedIn has a “SlideShare” option in your main navigation when you’re logged in:
It has “Featured SlideShares” that showcase curated decks chosen by the SlideShare/LinkedIn folks:
There is also a section that divides SlideShares up based on topic, decks that were created on SlideShare, and those that are trending on social media:
You can see that LinkedIn gets the first billing in this list, so having a deck that’s popular on LinkedIn is very beneficial. Getting both of those channels cross-promoting one another will amplify the reach of both, so make sure you’ve got a reputable presence on LinkedIn that you can leverage before starting on your first SlideShare deck.
A Note About MarketerGizmo and SlideShare
In the interest of full disclosure, we want to point out that MarketerGizmo is not currently on SlideShare. We’re still a young website that’s just getting established on social media in general, so we don’t yet have the bandwidth to attack SlideShare.
Once we meet the 5 prerequisites we’re planning to jump in with both feet, and we’ll update the site with our findings.
Make the Most of SlideShare When the Time Comes
Once you’ve decided that SlideShare would be a good marketing tool for you, it’s time to get a strategy in place and start making decks. Here’s how to get the most from your first few weeks using SlideShare.
No Decks Without a Profile
Would you follow someone who had a blank Twitter profile or no header image on their Facebook account? Me neither.
The same goes for SlideShare.
Get your house in order by setting up a nicely designed profile page that will reassure people that your decks will be valuable and not a waste of their time.
Repurpose Existing Successful Content
Choose some of your highest traffic blog posts or most engaging shared content from social media and turn it into a nice, short deck (12-14 slides).
Use your existing visuals whenever possible, and spruce up your text. Add a nifty background and an appropriate call to action, and you’re practically done.
Ross Simmons reported on Inbound.org that he invested $20k in SlideShare presentations and got “pretty decent results.” If you’ve got $20k in your budget for this kind of stuff, more power to you.2
But for those of us who would need to justify that kind of investment with something a little more substantial, a low-risk repurposing effort is a much better bet.
The other good news is that by re-using your own content you’re much more likely to have landing pages and tracking already in place so the initial workload is kept at a minimum.
Target High Competition or Long Tail Keywords
SlideShare, as you probably noticed in the earlier graphic, is a hugely popular site in search results. You need to make the most of its popularity by choosing your keywords for each deck very carefully.
You can either go after long tail keywords, which may not have sufficient search volume to justify pages or sections devoted to them on your main website, or high competition, high volume terms that your site may not be able to compete for on its own.
Whatever strategy you adopt, make sure you’re naturally incorporating your chosen keyword(s) into the deck’s title, transcript, and description. This text will be crawled and used to rank the deck, so optimize, optimize, optimize!
Engage, Engage, Engage
After you have 3-5 awesome decks in place, start doing the typical social media thing and engaging with your fellow SlideSharers.
Just like other social networks, you’ll see the best ROI from SlideShare when you’re a good citizen who interacts with other users. Those who post and run away aren’t creating relationships or encouraging reciprocity from other people on the network.
A bonus to engagement is that you’ll be able to get a feel for what kinds of decks get the most feedback and sharing. Then you can apply those lessons to future decks. It’s a win-win situation.
Promote, Promote, Promote
LinkedIn is an obvious channel on which to promote SlideShare decks, but you can also embed them on your website and share them on your existing social media profiles.
All of your content marketing efforts should be working in concert to help you achieve your goals.
For those of us who needed to shift focus onto SlideShare from one of these other channels this is a great way to keep them alive without having to devote too much time to their care and maintenance.
Conclusion: SlideShare Will Be More Work But Also More ROI
It’s clear that SlideShare comes with its own substantial task list, so don’t expect that you can squeeze it into an already overloaded social media calendar.
Because it requires additional time to create full decks (no matter how good you get at it), SlideShare’s conversion rate needs to be better than most other channels to justify the time investment. That means you need to be prepared for some upfront time investment in order to be successful.
But once you’re sure the time is right, and you’ve laid appropriate groundwork, you can see some great results from SlideShare.
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