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The SlideShare Handbook



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One of the most difficult challenges of public speaking is creating a presentation that best represents your topic. You can spend hours upon hours attempting to craft something that will impact and entertain your audience.

That's why we wrote the SlideShare Handbook- to help you learn how to write, design, and market powerful content.

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The SlideShare Handbook

  1. HANDBOOK SLIDESHARE The The Content Edition How to write, design, and market powerful content through SlideShare By: Big Fish Presentations
  2. TABLE OF CONTENTS What is this, and who are we? Well, to start, let’s introduce ourselves. We’re Big Fish Presentations, or Big Fish for short, and we’re a creative agency located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We do a handful of things each day, but our specialty has always been presentations. We started off doing presentations for local companies and family members, but, as we grew, we became a full-service production house, working with clients such as Verizon, Paramount Pictures, NASA, Alpine Electronics, and much more. See; over the years we have consistently grown in size and experience, but presentations have remained our expertise. So, because of this, we’ve learned a few things about presenting ideas and presentations in general. And that’s the point of these eBooks: to share with you our best practices, tips, and advice we’ve learned about presentations over the years. All of our advice will be centered on our favorite platform, SlideShare, so we’ll being going in-depth about the benefits and importance of it. Don’t know what SlideShare is? It’s okay – we’ll explain. On top of this, we’ve aggregated all the resources we use and even asked our friends and colleagues for their thoughts and advice. So here you go – everything we’ve learned over the years, all the resources we use to do what we do, and solid advice from people we admire. Enjoy! 2 3 1 5 7 9 12 16 18 24 28 14 22 3 CREATING GREAT CONTENT Tara Hunt Etienne Garbugli Popular Topics Writing Great Content Our Example Our Process Common Challenges How SlideShare Worked for Us CASE STUDIES WHY SLIDESHARE?
  4. 4 SlideShare® 1 Ushering in a revolutionary way to share powerful, visual content, SlideShare has quickly grown to 60 million unique visitors per month, dubbing it “the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content.” We think of SlideShare as a world stage – a platform that’s up for grabs to anyone who’s ready to deliver. That’s why we want to help. Intuitive, built-in functions have turned SlideShare into a powerful marketing platform that allows users to generate leads by giving them the ability to embed, share, and even download SlideShares. Its integration with LinkedIn makes it the perfect way for the brightest minds to swap knowledge, network with other professionals, and participate in the trending topics of today. This means that the typical, boring professional content and presentations are no longer limited to crappy PowerPoints. And neither are you. INTRODUCTION
  5. 5 Building credibility is a matter of publishing consistently valuable content + exposure. We’ve been using SlideShare for a while now, and it’s served us pretty well. It’s a platform to not only host our content, but it’s also garnered us a large following and allowed us to connect with clients such as Mastercard, Forbes, and ESPN. 5 SlideShare has been hailed the “Quiet Giant” of content marketing and it’s easy to see why. • One of the top 150 sites on the web • 6 Million visitors per month • 3 Billion slides viewed per month • 1,140 slides viewed per second • Produce original content for your niche • Share the advice of established experts • Be consistent and people will come back for more • Publish content in simple, easy-to-consume packages So why aren’t you using it? Well, here are all the reasons we started using SlideShare, and why we still use it to this day. How SlideShare Worked For Us Brand Awareness Credibility
  6. 6 The beauty of SlideShare’s content- publishing platform is that it’s not limited to presentations. Video has the ability to tell stories and deliver content in interactive, engaging ways. There are several ways to combine SlideShare with your blog: Increase Blog Following SlideShare is often used as a way to comment on the recent events and topics. The community on SlideShare is almost exclusively industry professionals. Use this network to build relationships with them. • Keep up with the trends • Create timeless content as a commentary on current social issues • People are seeking truth, so don’t be afraid to tell it like it is. • Create branded motion graphic videos • Keep your videos between one and three minutes long • Link to your blog in your SlideShare profile • Pull content from your long-form blog and link to the post on the last slide • Create great content and potentially get featured on the SlideShare Blog • Publish content in simple, easy-to-consume packages • Comment on other user’s SlideShares • Follow inspiring brands • Feature other SlideShares on your blog or social platforms and tag them Industry News & Trending Topics Leverage Video Networking
  7. 7 Not a designer? No problem. Short on time? Look, there’s something for everyone. 7 Challenges of SlideShare & How to Overcome Them Simple presentation tools, such as Haiku Deck and Canva, allow even the most technically incompetent among us to create beautiful slides. While SlideShare is content-focused, it’s nice to publish valuable material that’s also beautiful. Take advantage of simple presentation tools. Even without SlideShare, creating your presentation can be as nerve-racking as actually presenting it. Luckily, this is something understood by many, so there are resources out there to calm the anxieties that come with this. We are inherently scared of the unknown. In this case, SlideShare is the unknown. We understand it can be intimidating, but there’s no reason to avoid it all together. You have questions, we have answers. I DON’T HAVE TIME1 To quote Tim Ferriss, “A lack of time is a lack of priorities.” To remedy this, create an editorial calendar that lays out what content should be published and when. This type of structure will help you prioritize your time and generate consistent content. Create an editorial calendar. I’M NOT A DESIGNER2 7
  8. 8 Throughout history, we see explosive growth and innovation when information is freely shared. Though tempting to keep our secrets safe, we can truly achieve new heights by standing on the shoulders of giants. Marketing your SlideShares does not depend on complex algorithms or psychology. Pay attention to your industry, current events, and trending topics. These stories are the foundation of your marketable content. The more you give, the more you get. Sharing promotes innovation. I DON’T HAVE A TOPIC I DON’T HAVE GOOD CONTENT I DON’T KNOW THE ROI I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MARKET MY SLIDESHARE I DON’T WANT TO REVEAL MY INDUSTRY SECRETS 3 4 5 6 7 Create an idea master-list either on your phone or in your favorite moleskin where you can jot down ideas with no judgment or mental filtering. You might be surprised at how many ideas you have throughout the day. Everyone knows something - whether it’s golf, Microsoft Excel, or home maintenance. As Ernest Hemingway said, “Write the truest sentence you know.” When in doubt, don’t underestimate the power of a Google search. SlideShare provides much more than metrics and money. It’s a social platform that allows you to engage with others, fostering brand awareness, relationships, and knowledge. Imagine it as a runway, not a destination. There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t use SlideShare, but there’s even more reasons why you SHOULD use it. And there are tools out there for you to capitalize on your weaknesses; so not being comfortable with a platform or your skills isn’t an excuse. Because comfortable people don’t change the world. 8 Keep an idea master list. Write what you know. ROI = Community, conversation & content.
  9. 9 We’ve talked about how SlideShare can benefit you, why you should use it, and why we use it, but we haven’t really talked about HOW we use it. What’s our process? We believe that in order to create great presentations, you need to master three key principles: engaging content, high-quality design, and powerful delivery. And, when it comes to presentations on SlideShare, these same principles apply. Our Process Next, we’ll explain how we follow these steps, while using a real example of our successful “5 Killer Ways to Open a Presentation” SlideShare: STEP 1: CHOOSE A TOPIC STEP 2: CHOOSE A CALL TO ACTION On the last week of each month, we decide what topics will turn into SlideShares for the next month. We tend to stick to our core competency of presentations, communication, and graphic design, but, sometimes, we’ll pursue trending global topics that can be newsjacked (covering a breaking news topic and adding your own unique spin, explanation, and content to it to be seen and picked up as a credible source). For the example, we chose the topic “How to Open a Presentation” as – at that time – we saw a lot of people posting about presentations on SlideShare. After we choose a topic, we focus on writing our call to action first; it’s not uncommon for us to begin with the end. Check out our SlideShare, “The Importance of a Call to Action,” to find out how to craft, develop, and master a call to action. 9 Taking this into account, we’ve refined our SlideShare strategy into an easily replicated, 10-step plan.
  10. 10 STEP 3: CREATE MAIN POINTS STEP 4: CREATE YOUR STRUCTURE We then develop takeaways in the form of main points to supplement the topic. For example, in “How to Open a Presentation,” there are five main points to support our topic: Once the main points are created, we build a structure for the entire presentation to be filled out. Using the above topic, a typical SlideShare structure for us looks like this: These would be presented as headlines with their own unique slides in the later design steps. It’s worth mentioning that we normally like to have odd numbers for main points, as they’re easier to remember - so we usually end up with a list of 3, 5, or 7. 1. Open with a Story 2. Ask a Question 3. Share a Quote 4. Present Data 5. Tell a Joke We then transfer our structured content into a blank PowerPoint to help us know how the slides should transition and flow when being designed. Like we said, we try to keep things to about 1 or 2 (3 MAX) sentences per slide, as it keeps them less cluttered and helps separate the main points. The audience should always be able to easily distinguish the introduction, main points, and conclusion slides. STEP 6: PLUG EVERYTHING INTO POWERPOINT STEP 5: SUPPLEMENT YOUR STRUCTURE Once we create the structure, we support each part of it with small, concise sentences (one or two sentences). We then create the introduction and use the previously developed call to action to help form the conclusion.
  11. 11 STEP 8: DESIGN STEP 9: UPLOAD We eventually design each slide. If you don’t have any designers, find one (or a good site). Now remember that it’s important to for each slide to have its own purpose, in terms of design, to avoid monotonous colors and flow. Finally. We’re done. Or are we? After exporting the SlideShare as a PDF, we select tags that will allow our content to be picked up more easily on SlideShare. STEP 10: MARKET THAT BAD BOY We promote the presentation on social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and maybe – maybe – even Reddit. People like lists (thanks Buzzfeed) so, just like most good YouTube videos, we make sure our SlideShare has an enticing title headline such as, “5 Killer Ways to Open Up Your Next Presentation,” paired with an appealing thumbnail. STEP 7: STORYBOARD The next part is thinking about the best way to visualize these points. We choose a central visual direction along with select fonts, color schemes, and stock photos that can possibly be used. For example, in the “How to Open a Presentation,” we chose to go with the Big Fish theme and use our brand colors and fonts. Cute, we know. 11
  12. 12 Well, lets start throwing some numbers around. SKEPTICAL? 238,158 VIEWS 860 LIKES 5,970 DOWNLOADS 70 COMMENTS 157 EMBEDS “5 Killer Ways to Open Up Your Next Presentation,” was our first presentation to break 100,000 views, and launched us into the good graces of SlideShare. Today, our topics can be frequently seen as featured on the front page of SlideShare, mainly because we have stuck by these 10 steps moving forward. Our Example KILLER WAYS5TO OPEN UP YOUR NEXT PRESENTATION View the SlideShare
  13. 13 We began publishing SlideShares two years ago and, with only 17 slide decks, have since accumulated over 940,000 views and 16,000 followers (and counting). This is more than all of our other social accounts combined! Meaning that industry professionals are being exposed to our brand in droves. Although we began as a presentation company, we are expanding our reach into the video realm. An undervalued benefit of SlideShare’s platform is video publishing, which has allowed us to demonstrate our proficiency in that area and generate unique, interactive content. See, this platform gives us a chance to provide value to our viewers while simultaneously proving our skill and creativity. And, thanks to the content we have published there, we’ve driven over 3,000 unique visitors to our blog - which is good, because the value we create and the culture of our brand is fed, in part, through our blog. We have also been able to build relationships with many professionals from a wide variety of industries. As a result, we’ve been able to secure meetings with various high- profile companies. That being said, we are still continually trying to capitalize on SlideShare’s niche ability to deliver presentations directly to professionals. One of our earliest SlideShares has gained an impressive 235,000 views and nearly 6,000 downloads, which consequently led us to work with some of our most noteworthy clients. Now that we’ve explained our way of getting things done, we hope you’ll adapt our process to create SlideShares in your own unique way. As you continue through this ebook, you will not only hear from us, but others about their processes on creating, designing, and marketing a SlideShare from beginning to end. Ready?
  15. 2 If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that one of the most important and earliest steps in our process is creating content. This is not only intentional, but also necessary. To preface: Have you ever heard the expression, “Content is King.” Think about it – it’s true! INTRODUCTION 15
  16. 16 The longer the presentation, the shorter their attention. BE BRIEF7 Designing your presentation in a structured format will help your audience know where they are in the presentation. DEVELOP STRUCTURE6 Each slide should transition seamlessly into the next in content, design, and thought. CREATE FLOW5 Split your presentation into easily digestible sections for increased retention. BREAK IT UP4 If you procrastinate about your topic, perhaps it isn’t simple enough or it just isn’t the right topic. DON’T FORCE IT3 Whether it’s a checklist, template, or ritual you should develop a routine that allows you to maximize your writing time, develop your voice, and produce quality work. CREATE YOUR OWN WRITING PROCESS2 The best SlideShares can be quickly viewed because their content is short, direct, and easily quotable. Sound bites, not books. BE QUOTABLE1 Writing Great Content In order to write great content, you need to keep in mind three things: process, time, and expertise. Taking into account those principles, here are some other useful tips on crafting quality SlideShare content:
  17. 17 Adding a touch of humor through puns, sarcasm, or clever imagery can help endear your audience to you. WELL-PLACED HUMOR13 Due to the timeless, classic feel, simple presentations often have more impact in the long run (cue Apple’s Keynotes). KEEP IT CLEAN12 Presentations, by nature, should be more visual than content heavy. However, the design should enhance, not overshadow, your content. Simplify difficult issues (such as global economics or the Ebola virus) as though you’re explaining them to your grandma and you will be hailed as a hero. The classic KISS principle, “Keep It Simple Stupid” applies here. SIMPLIFY THE COMPLEX BE VISUAL 10 11 If you have an opportunity to present well-reasoned points that differ from popular opinion, go for it. ARGUE9 Trim down and reuse well-received content from your blog, whitepaper, or ebook. LEVERAGE POPULAR TOPICS8
  18. 18 PRESENTATION DESIGN TIPS (4 Ways Design Can Make Your Content Shine) Anyway – while there’s no way to know what will and will not work, we can still look at our success and the success of others to try and figure out what content gets the most hits on SlideShare. Popular Topics Knowing how to create a great SlideShare is always important, but the tips we give you and your ultimate success are centered around your topic. If the topic isn’t relevant or interesting, it may get ignored, which means it probably won’t get picked up. Just like with every other social platform in the world, there is no definitive guide to what topics garner tons of interactions and which topics flop like a fish. A BIG FISH ... Let’s dive in. Click a link below to view the SlideShare. PRESENTATION DELIVERY TIPS (10 Powerful Body Language Tips for your next Presentation) TRENDING PRODUCTS (Like Apple Watch v Moto 360) QUOTES (101 Awesome Marketing Quotes)
  19. 19 WEB TRENDS (Web Trends to Watch in 2014) SOCIAL MEDIA (What the F**k is Social Media?) MARKETING + ADVERTISING TIPS (10 Marketing Tips that will Increase Your ROI in 30 Days) DIGITAL TRENDS (2014 Online Marketing Trends) ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Top Ten Mistakes of Entrepreneurs) The previous examples are our most popular SlideShares, but by looking through the most popular topics overall, we’re able to see other categories that get a lot of traction: CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS (Edward Showden Deck Redesign)
  20. 20 DATA & ANALYTICS (How to Determine the ROI of Anything) GOVERNMENT (White House State of the Union 2014) CAREER ADVICE (Career Advice ‘08) (Mobile Design – Strategic Solutions) MOBILE DESIGN KEYNOTES POSTED AFTER SPEECHES (The New Rules of Selling) GLOBAL ISSUES (Dear NSA, Let me take care of your slides.)
  21. 21 What you’ll notice from these topics is that each presentation, besides having great content, also has an eye-catching headline with a well-designed title slide. Remember we talked about how important this was? Well, now you see it in action. And while this may not 100% help you pick out your next topic, use them as a guide to help you understand what SlideShare’s audience likes and doesn’t like. KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM BOOKS (How Google Works) LIFESTYLE (The 10 Timeless Productivity Hacks) CODING (iOS Coding Best Practices) BRANDING (The Art of Branding)
  23. As we initially said, we’re not only giving our advice and tips, but also our peer’s. We’ve gathered all of our friends: SlideShare experts, agency creatives, people we admire and respect; asking them what they do, what they like, and how they use SlideShare. We’re sure you’re probably tired of hearing from us by this point, so let’s introduce you to some of our friends. INTRODUCTION3
  24. 24 Bio: Etienne works at the intersection of technology, product design, and marketing. He’s a two-time startup founder (Flagback and HireVoice), a four-time entrepreneur, and a recognized usability and UX research expert. Currently, he’s a product design & marketing consultant, helping big brands and startups understand their customers & create innovative products. He also teaches user research and usability, travels the world and is slowly working on a new business. Etienne Garbugli Senior UX Researcher + Author SlideShare: Blog: Twitter: @egarbugli
  25. 25 Your post, “26 Time Management Hacks I Wished I’d Known at 20,” is one of the most viewed presentations on SlideShare...of all time. Tell us, what was the process like when coming up with the idea, design, and marketing of it? Are there any lessons or tips you’ve learned on how one can capitalize on a viral slideshow? Why do you think it went viral? 1 2 3 It was actually a very simple process. I keep a list of insights I’d like to share. At that time, I had a few topics I wanted to explore. I worked a few hours with a short list of tips on time management. When the flow made sense, I designed a simple (minimalistic) deck for SlideShare. After a total of 8 hours, I published the presentation on SlideShare and left for the evening. No marketing, no nothing. It got featured on the SlideShare homepage the next day and, 3 days later, more than 8,000 people were viewing the presentation every hour. From the information I gathered, ‘time management’ is a universal problem. The topic was important, the title was catchy, the graphics were simple, and a lot of the ideas introduced were new. A lot of readers expected it to be another list of basic time management tips and were happily surprised with the content. That surprise helped drive some of the sharing. The success was unexpected; it wasn’t until it reached 200k views that I started thinking about virality. At that time, I didn’t really have anything to sell or promote. Now, I would recommend always having a way to create further engagement with readers by creating a short eBook, promoting a blog, or subscribing to a newsletter.
  26. 26 What do you think are the easiest topics to gain traction on SlideShare? What’s your usual process when determining what content to write? How would you recommend an organization make SlideShare an integral part of their inbound marketing strategy? 5 6 7 What is a good tip for generating catchy headline titles?4 Frankly, I don’t really have a system for generating catchy headlines, but I believe in testing. Social media can be a great tool to test various headlines. Don’t underestimate the importance of catchy titles. I once heard that 50% of the time should be spent working on the title when publishing new content. We really see all kinds of presentations gain traction on SlideShare. I think any (interesting) topic can find its audience. Over the years, I’ve been building and maintaining a list of all the lessons I learn. Whenever I feel I have enough content on a topic that could be useful for readers, I try to create a new deck on SlideShare. They should look at how HubSpot is doing it. They created personas for their target customers and understand the interests and objectives of their prospects. They use this information to produce valuable content for SlideShare and their blog, leveraging their social media following to create engagement. SlideShare is a great way to reach a large business audience.
  27. 27 What do you think are characteristics of great SlideShare content? How would you recommend building a loyal SlideShare following? Great presentations have flow. Whether that means having a story or just a logical flow of content, getting the flow to work is one of the key things I do when working on a new presentation. Publishing quality content for the sake of the content and not the promotion. 8 9 How would you recommend connecting your SlideShare to your other social media channels? I use custom landing pages for every social media channel with their own unique tracking. When I can, I try to have unique rewards on these landing pages. 10
  28. 28 Bio: Tara Hunt is a pioneer in online marketing, and an authority on online communities. She wrote one of the first books on how the social web was changing business and culture, which is published in seven languages worldwide. She was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Women to Watch, and Fast Company named her one of the Most Influential Women in Technology. Tara Hunt Author + Speaker + Senior Digital Marketing Strategist SlideShare: Website: Twitter: @missrogue
  29. 29 Why would you recommend an organization or individual use SlideShare?1 It’s one of the most powerful business tools online today. It is the perfect culmination of bite-sized, expert knowledge and highly visual presentations. Gone are the days of long blog posts and white papers. People are looking for sharable, easy-to-digest proof of your expertise. SlideShare takes it to another level and builds in fantastic lead generation tools, so that you can capture those interested readers simply. What is your typical approach when creating a SlideShare, from beginning to end? How did you come up with your channel’s unique design style, brand, and voice? 2 3 I generally approach it by creating an outline based on The Hero’s Journey (Joseph Campbell) where the audience is the hero. They come into the room or open the SlideShare with a comfortable idea of the world they know. Then I challenge their assumptions with my core thesis and give them an example or a data point they can’t ignore. I then take them on the journey, breaking down lessons from strong examples and data, until they come out on the other side with an entirely new assumption. I basically think about how I can tell a story as visually as possible, without losing the important points. I don’t think I gave it much thought. I just am who I am. Early on in my career, someone asked me what my marketing perspective was and I answered, “I’m a customer first and a marketer second,” which already drove everything I think and do. That perspective really underpins my ‘brand’ and ‘voice,’ but it isn’t something I created. It just is.
  30. 30 What is a good tip for generating catchy headline titles? What do you think are characteristics of great SlideShares? If you could only give one key piece of design advice on making a great visual presentation, what would it be? 5 6 7 What inspires you on generating interesting content ideas?4 Honestly, it’s usually from personal experience and/or frustration. I should thank clients and people I’ve worked with, who I get into arguments with – they’ve inspired me to create everything from blog posts, to presentations, to books. I get so enthusiastic about helping people shift with the times, I take it to the next level - researching it and forming that research into an argument they could understand. I actually suck at headlines. I’m not a link-bait person. I write my headlines too honestly. The SlideShare presentations that make me go back time and time again are the ones with solid data points and incredible case studies. Beautiful visuals also help, but the ones that really hook me are able to tell an amazing story. Avoid crappy stock images. Use real people in real situations as much as possible. My favorite resource is still Flickr Creative Commons, though I use it cautiously and now ask permission if I don’t know the photographer. Even if they mark their images Creative Commons, they don’t always intend it to be used so publicly. I always credit and link back to the original as well.
  31. 31 Your SlideShare presentation, “The 10 Mistakes I’ve made…so you don’t have to,” has over 300k views. How did you successfully market this presentation for so many views? 8 I didn’t! I did what I do for every other presentation: I posted it and shared it to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I was very fortunate to have SlideShare post it to the homepage as well. It just really resonated with people who read through it, I guess. I received long emails from people around the world thanking me for speaking to their experience. It was one of those “right message, at the right time” sort of presentations. It wasn’t at all manufactured. I was living it and I told my own story. How would you recommend building a loyal SlideShare following? How has SlideShare helped your personal brand grow? 9 10 It’s not as simple as it sounds, but…create great content! Tell great stories, and teach great lessons. Tell the stories that matter. I see too much content now – not just SlideShare, but everywhere – and it’s all trying too hard to be popular. Don’t do that. SlideShare has been the most influential platform for my career. I think it’s because I’m a visual thinker and SlideShare allows me to express ideas in a visual story arc. When Rashmi and Jon launched SlideShare in 2006, it gave me the perfect platform for my ideas. Additionally, because I knew that broader online audiences were reading my SlideShares, I put extra care into creating a story that could be told online, as well as in a live presentation. I also love reading decks by fellow SlideShare-ers and getting inspiration to improve my craft. It’s an amazing community and a fantastic resource.
  32. In our next volume, we’ll be going over the principles and resources we use to make our SlideShares look pretty, along with how we market them. And, of course, we’ll be throwing in some more case studies from our friends. So… Hope you liked those. So look out for our next SlideShare volume: Design. Hopefully by now you understand SlideShare’s bark is worse than its bite. It’s approachable, intuitive, and advantageous for, pretty much, anyone who uses it. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into... And you should by now. However, understanding the importance of SlideShare, and knowing what content does and doesn’t work, is half the battle. You have your SlideShare, you’ve picked a topic, and written out the content… But now what? What’s Next? WELL, HAVE NO FEAR; BIG FISH IS HERE!