10 essential SlideShare tactics

These techniques will enhance your content marketing efforts, in part by tapping into the increasingly visual nature of professional communication.

Though blogs should be the backbone of your content marketing, there are advantages to using outside platforms to reach a new audience.

Consider SlideShare. Because content marketing has become highly visual in the last few years, many smart brands such as HubSpot and Twilio are creating amazing slideshow content to generate leads. But some marketers may be unsure about how to maximize their presence on SlideShare.

As someone who has scored presence on the home page numerous times and sent thousands of visitors to my sites and my clients’ sites from the platform, I wanted to reveal 10 tactics for getting the best return from your content on SlideShare.

1. Appeal to SlideShare’s professional user base.

SlideShare has the most professional audience on the Web, even more so than LinkedIn. Although SlideShare prides itself on being the “quiet giant” of content marketing, I will say it’s one of the greatest untapped resources for many B2B marketers. Few platforms can compete with such a professional audience. Instead of getting the often bouncy social media traffic from places like Twitter, on SlideShare you are getting in front of decision-makers and other business-minded folks. Content that caters to small-business owners and working professionals is what performs best on SlideShare (although other sorts of content can certainly do well).

2. Create interesting and enticing title slides.

Title slides are incredibly important for getting people to click (i.e., begin your presentation), both on and off SlideShare. My go-to example of an amazing title slide is this one:

Bold, bright, interesting, controversial: This title slide has it all.

Why are title slides so important? Your title slide will be the first thing that people see on your presentation—this includes when it’s embedded onto other sites as well as when it is featured on SlideShare itself in the “related presentations” sidebar or on the home page.

Having a highly clickable title slide will generate more views, as curious browsers stop to check out just what your presentation is about. If you have a generic or boring title, you’re going to lose out on a huge potential audience.

3. Use a “call for more content” in addition to calls to action.

Ending your presentation with a call to action that sends folks to your own site is a no-brainer, but try ending it with a call for more content.

This works especially well for really meaty pieces, such as huge guides. The idea is to share an ample amount of slides (25+) and end by asking readers to check it out in its entirety. This would ideally lead to a friction-free opt-in page where people could then access your content. Here’s an example (notice the last slide):

This strategy is viable only if a portion of the presentation can stand on its own. For instance, an 11-slide presentation ending with a call for more content would do quite poorly—there’s no way you could create enough incentive to download more content with just 11 slides. (At least, it’s very unlikely.)

4. Leverage other audiences for increased exposure.

Guest posting is essential for driving SlideShare views if your company blog doesn’t have a large audience. On SlideShare, presentations that perform well have a better chance of being seen and manually selected for the front page.

If your company blog just isn’t at the stage where it can drive 1,000+ clicks to your latest presentation, the next best thing you can do is to commit to guest blogging to generate those initial views. If you can get enough buzz going early and your presentation is solid in terms of both content and design, you have a fantastic chance of getting on the home page.

5. Create lengthy, data-driven presentations.

In a recent study by Dan Zarella on HubSpot, the findings pointed to something uncommon on other platforms: The longer a presentation is (up to 60+ slides), the better it’s likely to perform.

Additionally, if you take a look at SlideShare’s most popular presentations, you’ll see a heavy emphasis on data-driven content. Though this seems strange at a glance (you’d never see the same thing happening with Facebook users), it’s important to remember point No. 1 of this post: SlideShare users are largely a smaller group of professionals, and they crave professional content.

Include a healthy sampling of charts, graphs, and other visual data to emphasize your key points:

Though the above is a fairly meaty presentation, don’t be scared to go even bigger. You are not confined to the same limits as you might be with YouTube’s audience (which rarely sits around for anything longer than three minutes).

6. Go the extra mile on design.

Trying to perform well on SlideShare without implementing great design would be like trying to get started in content marketing without a solid company blog—an essential ingredient is missing, and it will drastically hurt your chances of success.

Slideshows are a visual platform, and without eye-appealing designs and a clear presentation format, all that good information has the potential to be skipped (or misunderstood).

Other than our own efforts, one company that really gets things right with design and continues to do so on SlideShare is KISSmetrics:

A great design not only makes the presentation more enjoyable, but it also adds legitimacy and professionalism that even spectacular content can’t create: People have a tendency to judge the trustworthiness of things online based on their design—even more so than the content available [source].

7. Target keywords with SlideShare’s domain.

One thing marketers must keep in mind when using outside platforms is that these sites often have very authoritative domains, and that by implementing fundamental SEO techniques, they can generate even more views for their content. I do this with my own slideshows. One of them ranks No. 1 for “content marketing on SlideShare”—outperforming even an official SlideShare upload.

As a result, it now sits at more than 30,000 views with minimal promotion: It’s all been from SlideShare clicks and SEO traffic. Create content for humans first and foremost—that’s always been the golden rule—but don’t let it stop you from finding some solid keywords after the fact and making a sincere effort to rank for them: It can definitely help expose your slideshows to related searches.

8. Repurpose content.

One great thing about SlideShare is that you can take content from your free resources or even from your blog and repurpose it in a visual format via a slideshow.

This helps you get more mileage out of larger pieces of content on a brand-new platform, leading to more discoveries and leads from evergreen content you may have created ages ago.

One thing I recommend is turning short e-books into great-looking PowerPoint presentations, like so:

This lets you keep the e-book content for opt-in purposes (or to distribute for free on your site), and you can tap into SlideShare’s massive audience for more views and leads for your mailing list or sales funnel.

9. Utilize opt-in forms in your slides.

Though this feature is available only to SlideShare Pro users, it’s incredibly powerful and deserves a mention.

This feature enables you to have opt-in forms appear in your presentation. These will show up if your presentation is being viewed on SlideShare.net or if it’s been embedded on another site, making it great for picking up leads from guest posts (mentioned above).

Personally, I find that it is most effective when it appears at the end of the full presentation: Instead of forcing folks to commit to three or more clicks to opt in, they can now opt in from the very slideshow that they were just viewing. It’s an awesome addition that we’ve used to collect leads at a surprising rate. I highly recommend trying it.

10. Don’t underestimate email outreach.

An oldie but goodie: Multimedia content is much easier to share across multiple sites than written content is, for obvious reasons (no duplicate content penalty, etc.).

Email outreach should already be a part of your content promotion checklist, no matter what you are producing, but it is especially important for this sort of embeddable content, which could end up featured on multiple sites at once.

It’s similar to a typical infographic promotion strategy: Because the content is visual and easily shared without running into the “duplicate content” issue, you can reach out to as many people as possible to see whether they’d like to republish your slideshow. This, along with guest blogging, is pivotal in getting you those early views. Without them, it’s much harder to hit the SlideShare home page. The home page should be your goal with every upload, as getting featured there could easily add thousands of views to your presentations and, more important, plenty of new leads as people follow your call to action.

A version of this article first appeared on ContentMarketingInstitute.com. (Image via)

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