In a world where content is plentiful, marketers are starting to realize that white papers and blog posts aren’t enough to cut through the noise. For brands looking to cut through the noise they need to embrace content marketing beyond the status quo. And while everyone has heard about the power of content marketing on channels like Facebook and Twitter, many marketers ignore a quiet giant.
Enter the world of Slideshare.
SlideShare is a community for sharing presentations. Individuals or organizations can upload and share PowerPoint, PDF, or OpenOffice presentations. Anyone can find presentations on their topic of interest. Users can tag presentations, and download or embed them into their own websites or blogs. Furthermore, Slideshare is a channel that over performs while being under utilized.
It’s currently one of the Top 150 sites on the web generating 60 million visitors a month along with 3Billion slide views. Numbers like these make you wonder why you haven’t been included Slideshare in your own marketing mix. With thousands of pieces of content being uploaded to Slideshare every month, how do you stand out and market your business on the world’s largest profesional content site?
This guide will provide answers to those questions while providing insights as it relates to taking your efforts to the next level. Whether you are a Slideshare beginner or a design pro, this information should serve as an in-depth guide for marketing on Slideshare.
Getting Started: Understanding the Basics
Similar to most social networks, you start out on Slideshare by filling out the standard information about your business. In the example above, you’re looking at the Slideshare page for the Marketing Automation software, Marketo. In their page you can see a few key pieces of information that they were required to fill out to complete their profile. Here are the things you’ll be expected to do at launch:
- Decide Between Standard & Pro: I’m a huge fan of Slideshare for organizations who are playing in a B2B space. If your business falls into that category then paying for a Pro Account is probably a good idea. A Pro account gives you a wide range of customization as seen in the Marketo page above along with perks that will drive new opportunities directly related to business acquisiton.
- Identify Your Industry: There is a wide range of content on Slideshare. Select the industry that is most relevant to your business so it’s easier for users to find your content when doing research or looking at similar content.
- Website & Social Media Links: It’s all about driving conversion in B2B. This isn’t a groundbreaking idea but it’s one that marketers tend to ignore and put on the back burner. Slideshare allows for integration with your site to cross promote other channels.
- Tell Your Story in your Description: In a paragraph or two try and summarize in a few sentences what your brand represents and what your value proposition is. Within this, ensure that you reference keywords that are related to the content that will be found in the presentations you will be uploading to Slideshare.
The Power of Going Pro on Slideshare
Lead Capture Campaigns
For me, this is where Slideshare really separates itself from other visual channels. The folks at Slideshare recognize that the B2B industry is all about generating relevant and qualified leads and they’ve integrated functionality to allow businesses to do just that.
Slideshare offers a few different ways to generate leads. First, you can easily capture a significant amount of leads by driving traffic directly from your presentations to your website or landing pages. You can do this by adding links throughout your slides or simply including a URL when you set up your account. This is the expected.
How Slideshare goes above and beyond is with the lead generation form integrated directly into their slides. In the visual above you can see that there is a form that is specifically talking about my upcoming book, The Entrepreneurs Guide to Content Marketing. This form will appear at the end of any slides that I’ve uploaded to Slideshare once the user has reached the end of my deck. Additionally, if a user is anxious and clicks the “Get in Touch” button, it takes them directly to a form driving conversion.
On-Page Branding Capabilities
Similar to channels like Twitter and YouTube, Slideshare gives you the ability to truly bring your brand to life through your slideshare page. Not only are you able to set up a vanity URL when you sign up: www.slideshare.com/businessnamehere – you also have a chance to bring your brand to life visually.
As seen in the Marketo example at the top of this guide, you have a bit of flexibility as it relates to how you tell your brands story on Slideshare. Some brands take a simple approach and use generic flat colours for their backgrounds while others (like Marketo) upload their own visuals to truly let their brand shine through. Clearly, there is a benefit to taking this approach but recognizing that some of the content is hidden behind the platforms functionality makes it easy for some brands to go with a flat colour.
Outside of the background image, brands also have a chance to upload a custom banner at the top of their Slideshare. As you see in the visual above, these are great ways to inject your brands story into your Slideshare profile with something as simple as a logo. Additionally, this area is also privileged to HTML customization which gives you another opportunity to drive users to secondary channels like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Once you have these things sorted out and your account is armed and ready to drive results, it’s time to start uploading content. But what content should you share? What content goes viral on Slideshare? I thought you would never ask…
Content that Works Great on SlideShare
Slides Demonstrating Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is a difference maker between content that blends in and content that stands out (tweet this). A lot of people like to believe that thought leadership and content marketing are one and the same but while that should be the aim, it’s far from reality. Most content consists of ideas and stories that have been shared in the past and are simply being told in a different way. Thought leadership is rare which is why it’s so valuable.
When you conduct research to gather insights and data that have not been shared in the past and lead to groundbreaking thoughts, you achieve thought leadership. At the same time, when you curate information from around the web and communicate it in a way that is unexpected or sometimes contrarian to the norm, that too is thought leadership. Essentially, thought leadership is any type of content that is so valuable that it requires your attention. Here’s an example of a slideshow from the co-author of Venture Hacks, and a co-maintainer of AngelList, Naval Ravikant:
These slides were shared thousands of times and drove significant awareness of AngelList among entrepreneurs interested in learning about what makes certain startups fundable and others not. At the same time, this slideshow further demonstrated the knowledge and expertise carried by Naval in a engaging way. One of the key benefits of Slideshare is the ability to embed slideshows in blog posts and other areas of the web. This presentation was shared on a wide range of blog posts and media channels to further increase the spread of these ideas and slides outside of the slideshare domain. That’s the power of thought leadership.
Create Industry Valued Content
Similar to the reason you’re reading this guide, people have a thirst for learning new things. We’re hard-wired to be curious and as such, we’re often on the hunt to find new things and acquire information that will help us grow. Whether it’s information that helps us grow as individuals or help us grow as professionals, we often push ourselves to constantly seek out content that fills our minds with insights and information that we didn’t know before.
In many cases, the content we look for isn’t necessarily thought leading ideas. In fact, the majority of these pieces of content that we embrace and spend hours reading are simply the stories of others and the lessons they learned along the way. Sometimes all it takes is a personal touch or a unique spin on a heavily discussed topic to make something relevant and worth reading (tweet this idea). It’s the difference between a piece of content that falls flat and one that is truly compelling.
An example of this being done on Slideshare is the folks at Firmex who created a slideshow sharing 10 Weird Finance Facts which has more than 86,000 views. The presentation is filled with facts like “JP Morgan’s Uncle, James Pierpont, wrote “Jingle Bells” in 1857″ and the end the slideshow stating that “If you invested $100 in Microsoft in 1986 it would be worth XXX today – Click here to find out.” This call to action drives users to the Firmex website where they move potential leads further down the funnel and into a channel where their contact information can be more easily acquired through a landing page specific to them.
Content that is Reactive yet Relevant
Reactive storytelling is a concept built on the foundation of content that is likely to go viral. It’s the combination of a top of mind idea or concept combined with a highly relevant marketing message. For example, when Prince Harry went to Las Vegas and was caught dancing naked, the Las Vegas Tourism department took a reactive storytelling approach when they created new ads that promoted the concept of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right Harry?”
On slideshare, there is also an opportunity to utilize reactive storytelling. Yes, it’s challenging but when done correctly, reactive storytelling is an effective way to generate viral content. Emiland De Cubber is already known on Slideshare as one of the best presentation and slide designers after creating hits like seven tips to create visual presentations and presenting like an artist. But his most recent slideshow has truly gone viral.
When the world heard of a leaked NSA slide-deck claiming that the NSA has “direct access” to servers at Google, Apple, Facebook, Skype, Yahoo, and many others – the media and the internet went wild. The slides were shared on the National Post, CNN, Boing Boing and almost every credible news outlet. As expected from a government agency, the slides were actually quite hideous and hard on the eyes. That is, until Emiland De Cubber took the slides and redesigned them for the world to see:
The final slides put the icing on the cake. He takes an extremely topical story and ties it back to how he can help anyone with their slides. It’s brilliant.
Transparent Updates on Your Business
Another opportunity for brands using slideshare is their ability to give people a closer look behind the scenes. Furthermore, it gives brands an opportunity to be more transparent with both investors and customers and develop a sense of community. One brand that does this extremely well is the flash deal site Fab.
In recent years, Fab has used slideshare to provide updates on everything from Big Fab Announcements to a look back at annual results and successes. The slides they share are always well designed and tie well together as they truly communicate the essence of the Fab brand. Beyond that, these slides allow them to foster a relationship with their customers beyond their inbox. Here’s their first slide deck which was uploaded to show their success in 2011. It’s described as Fab.com’s amazing 2011 journey from zero to hero:
As you can see, the slides here aren’t your boring basic corporate slides. From one slide to the next you’re met with a beautiful design along with some key lessons to increase the value a reader gets from looking at the deck. Slides that have value are the differentiator between slides that achieve success on slideshare and those that dont. When you can inject value into your presentations, you win.
No matter what social media channel you choose for your content marketing efforts, you need to identify whether it will help you achieve results. So instead of just trying to jump on the bandwagon of every social network, think about your target audience and identify whether you think the channels you’re using will allow your message to get in front of them.
If you are using Slideshare now and driving results, good for you! You are a rare breed. Most brands and businesses are ignoring this quiet giant and as a result missing out on a chance to truly maximize their return from social media. While there may only be a handful of B2C case studies that show the power of Slideshare, it’s without question one of the biggest opportunities for businesses looking to market in the B2B space (tweet this idea).
Whether you’re marketing to Generation-Y or the enterprise market, visual content can be a great way to share your story. How are you using visual storytelling to connect with your target audience? Do you have any tips for brands trying to use Slideshare?