5 Tips to Get Featured by SlideShare

July 31, 2015

thumbnail.001-blogBy Eugene Cheng and Cheryl Low

Getting featured on SlideShare’s homepage as one of the three top SlideShares of the Day can be considered the holy grail for many uploaders. In our experience, this coveted spotlight guarantees at least a few thousand views in traffic, and your content becomes a permanent fixture on this trophy page. SlideShare will also tweet out each SlideShare of the Day.

The fine print: The front-page is hand-curated by SlideShare’s editorial team – you’ll have to earn that spot at the top.

Understandably, this can seem like a daunting task. With the sea of content on SlideShare, how does one stand out (Check out SlideShare's tips below)?

At Slide Comet, we’ve been fortunate enough to have had about a dozen of our SlideShares securing that spot, thanks to a little hard work. We’ve seen more than one million combined views on our SlideShares, and generated more than 5,000 leads using both our own form and SlideShare's lead generation form on one of our SlideShares.

Here's how we’ve reproduced the results time and again -- from conceptualizing all the way to eventually publishing and promoting our SlideShares.

Step 1: Gather Existing Content

Repurposing existing content or trending news is by far the fastest way to put a SlideShare together without spending too much time thinking of new angles.

Existing Content

Do you have an e-book lying around that would work great as a SlideShare? How about a blog post that was popular with your followers?

Extracting the main points with different formats from your past content helps establish longevity and saves you hours thinking of new angles. This can potentially cut your production time in half because you’ll only need to tweak the structure of the content for SlideShare.

If you don’t have any existing content handy, consider collaborating with somebody else and repurposing their content. (Example: We worked together with a photography firm to give expert photo tips).

News Jacking

It pays to be in-the-know about what everyone else is talking about. For instance, when the ALS Ice Bucket campaign went viral online, we immediately did an opinion piece on the topic.

If you spot a trending news angle that resonates with you personally or is related to your business, consider creating a SlideShare about it. One of the more famous examples was ‘Dear NSA’ by Emiland De Cubber -- a simple deck that skyrocketed his reputation and got him featured on numerous online news sites.

Step 2: Create a Compelling Structure

When we talk about creating structures, we're talking about the flow of information in your SlideShare. We usually outline on word-processing software before putting it into PowerPoint or Keynote.

Introduce The Why

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What works best is giving a brief introduction about the content you’re going to share. Whether it’s a back story about how you stumbled onto this idea or how you saw a gap in the industry that nobody was talking about, make it authentic and personal. Answer: Why did you create this?

Keep It Short, but Not Too Short

Most viewers prefer punchy, short sentences in SlideShares. They make it easier to digest messages, and let your visuals tell the story. That being said, it boils down back to the objective of the SlideShare. Our recommendation is to keep the text brief and short enough so it can be read quickly -- but not lose its meaning.

Include an Action Step

If you’re using a ‘list’ type structure (XX steps to XX), it’s pretty simple to structure. Give a brief but adequate explanation of your content but always be sure to include an actionable step or a TL;DR (aka "too long didn’t read") summary for viewers who have shorter attention spans. This will prove useful later on for distribution.

 

Step 3: Over-Deliver on Value

As we mentioned in our deck “How to Create SlideShares that Convert,” include actionable, unique content. It's a prerequisite to creating a good deck.

Sing a Different Song

Re-hashing the same old content over and over again can make even the best writing become boring. To stand out, you have to give people a compelling reason to listen to you and share your SlideShare. For example, we’ve seen one-too-many decks on presentation design. We decided to take a different angle. (Example: How Great Presentations Are Like Ads)

Cross-check your content with others on SlideShare or online to check whether what you’re creating appears anywhere else. If it does, strip that content out and include newer ‘never-heard-before’ content.

The key here is to strive for original, branded content you can call your own and make use of over and over again.

Provide Instant Gratification

In the age of technology and smart phones we want gratification with the click of a button. If you’re putting your viewers through too many hurdles to get what they want, you can be sure they’ll tune out.

Include links to online tools or your own resources that will help them get what they want. That way you convert the click-happy bunch and provide instant value to the viewer.

Step 4: Design

To start, check out the articles about design on SlideShare’s blog and in their new Creator's Hub. Below are a few of the most important design takeaways we've learned.

An Attention-Grabbing Cover

Pretend your SlideShare is a book in a bookstore amongst thousands of other books. What’s going to get someone to pick yours off the shelf? An arresting cover. (Example: Growth Hack Tactics by TigerTiger)

A) Headline
Quoting the axiom from the famous ad-man, ‘When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.' Make sure yours is irresistible.

b) Typography
In this case we'd recommend you keep your text as big as possible and your headlines short (around six words or less) so viewers notice your deck whether it’s on their desktop or their mobile phone.

c) Colors
Choosing colors doesn’t need to be complicated; just pick something that will contrast really well so it ‘pops’ out of the page when a viewer scrolls past. Try a neutral color like white and a darker saturated color.

d) Hero Image
Pick something that’s unconventional and makes people take a second look. Most importantly, it should link back to what you’re talking about.

If you’re all out of ideas, take a look at good examples from NoteandPoint.com or get inspired by decks on SlideShare’s SlideShares Of the Day page.

Design to Amplify, not Beautify

Use visuals in your deck to amplify your messages -- not only to make them look pretty. Especially with instructional material, it’s important that the visuals help the viewer understand what you’re talking about and not leave them confused.

Step 5: Distribution

This is perhaps the most important step that will make or break your deck, but it's often the most overlooked. Even if you snag a front-page feature on SlideShare, it will all be for naught if you can’t milk the results. Relying completely on SlideShare to fuel your marketing is a slippery slope because you’re letting all that potential traffic slip away. In fact, 2/3 of our traffic in our most popular deck comes from external web embeds and shares.

Enable Sharing

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If your viewers love your content, make it easy for them to share it. Try adding "Click to Tweet" prompts within your deck to get more traffic from viral sharing. If they loved it, they probably have friends who will, too.

Directing Traffic from Owned Media

Share your deck on your blog, website, social pages, to your email lists and even in your other SlideShares. The idea is to put your new content in-front of audiences that will appreciate it, and usually this means your loyal followers or past audiences. Conversions from the same people may not be the end goal, but the initial boost to your SlideShare helps with getting featured as well.

In Summary

There is no easy way to get on the front-page. But after replicating the results with a reasonable level of success for others and ourselves, we're confident that this brief blueprint will help you as well.

TL;DR: Create novel, outstanding content that adds value to your audience. Distribute like crazy by tapping into your audiences and ramping up your own efforts.

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Adapted and repurposed from our book: SlideShare Marketing (with foreword by SlideShare Co-Founder: Amit Ranjan) Available here.

About the Author

Eugene Cheng is the co-founder and creative lead of Slide Comet, a boutique consulting firm based in Singapore that provides presentation strategy and design services to Fortune 500 companies like Panasonic, government agencies like A*Star and soaring startups like Glints. A self-confessed presentation obsessive, he relishes in building compelling visual content for his agency’s channel and his personal channel on SlideShare. Connect with Eugene on Linkedin.

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