SlideShare is more than just a way to share your presentations online; it can be a powerful content marketing tool that can turbocharge all of your publishing endeavors.
Regardless of the reasons why you’re publishing — whether it’s to generate leads, build your list, educate your prospects, enhance user satisfaction, or promote your informational products — you can use SlideShare at every step of your process as you plan, write, promote, and profit from the content you create in the form of print books, eBooks, reports, tip sheets, white papers, and more.
Why use SlideShare?
SlideShare is an online hosting service that makes it easy to efficiently leverage your presentations with more of your followers, clients, and prospects. SlideShare’s value as a publishing tool is based on several of its key characteristics:
- Efficiency: SlideShare leverages the power of software programs you likely are already familiar with, like Microsoft’s PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote. If you’ve ever created a presentation using one of these popular software programs, you can easily get started on SlideShare without a lengthy learning curve, overburdening your already-stretched staff resources, or incurring the costs and delays of outside production.
- Ability to be updated easily: Using SlideShare, you can easily update your presentation as your publication takes shape and its launch date approaches.
- Visibility: SlideShare is search engine optimized; as a result, presentations will attract viewers on their own. In addition, you can easily embed SlideShare presentations in your blogs and web pages, and include them in your emails.
- Trackability: Finally, SlideShare tracks each presentation’s views and downloads, so you can monitor interest in your topic over time. If desired, you can also add lead generation forms to encourage viewers to immediately contact you to find out how to take the next step.
A cycle for publishing success
Most content creators focus the majority of their efforts on the creative and stylistic aspects of writing, without paying enough attention to the equally important tasks involved in planning, promoting, and profiting from their writing. This one-sided approach typically results in disappointment and frustration.
In response to this challenge, I created a four-step Publishing Success Cycle, which provides a framework for using SlideShare as a publishing tool that can provide value throughout the entire writing process, from the first phases of planning to the end goal of profiting from your work.
Step 1: Planning
SlideShare makes it easy to test your assumptions while planning your publication, giving you an easy way to market-test your ideas and fine tune them before you go too far along the wrong track.
Here are four of the ways you can test market your idea and, by doing so, increase the likelihood of project success:
- Test-market your book or premium idea: A SlideShare presentation provides an easy way to create a visual walk-through of your project — one that’s far more engaging and memorable than an online text survey. The presentation format allows you to describe the topics you’re going to discuss, the benefits your content will offer, and the information you’re going to share, and lets you invite your audience to comment and suggest additional topics for each chapter.
- Test your titles and subtitles: After describing the subject matter of your upcoming project in your presentation, you can conclude by testing proposed title and subtitle ideas. For example, you could share three proposed titles and subtitles and invite viewers to select the options that interest them the most, or you could invite them to submit their own title ideas based on information you provide.
- Share design ideas: As your project moves forward, and after you’ve finalized the title of your content, you can share proofs of different cover images or other visual elements, inviting viewers to help you select the artwork that best matches your title and content.
- Invite content comments: By sharing the chapter-by-chapter development of your topic, you can invite viewers to comment on your project’s contents and suggest ideas and questions for each chapter.
By using SlideShare during the planning stage, you’re not only generating valuable feedback on your content project, but you’re engaging your market on an emotional level by asking for their ideas, preferences, and impressions of your work. This builds familiarity and anticipation for your forthcoming project, increasing the chances of its success.
Step 2: Writing
Waiting until after a project has been completed is a frequent mistake that continues to undermine the success of authors and publishers. Here are some of the ways you can use SlideShare while writing your project.
- Introduce the authors: Use SlideShare to build a personal link among the authors, contributors, and your project’s prospective readers. Use photographs and anecdotes to share your story— your goals, challenges, and victories — as each chapter is completed. Use SlideShare presentations, with accompanying videos where appropriate, to create a community around your publication.
- Share chapters as you write them: Update your SlideShare presentation as new chapters are completed and made available for download. As bestselling authors like David Meerman Scott and Seth Godin have repeatedly shown, getting your drafts into your reader’s hands as quickly as possible pays big dividends. Usually, chapters are distributed as text links within blog posts. However, presenting chapter downloads in the context of a visual walk-through of your book will be far more effective.
Step 3: Promoting
The following are some of the ways you can use SlideShare to launch your publication with great fanfare, and extend the marketing and promotional momentum you build for as long as you desire.
For example, as your book launch date approaches, you can support your Amazon.com publication date by preparing a promotion that shows the reader bonuses that your marketing partners have contributed to help you launch your book to success. And after your book launch, you can prepare mini-presentations showing how specific market segments can benefit from your book. Further, when speaking about your book at live events, you can post speaker handouts on SlideShare.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Embed presentations into website landing pages: SlideShare can help set your promotion activities apart from the competition’s. Some publication landing pages (i.e., pages designed to encourage publication downloads or purchase) can be dull because the graphics are limited to showing the publication’s front cover — which really doesn’t communicate much information. With SlideShare, however, you can promote your publications with a self-paced tour of your publication, accompanied (if desired) with audio narration. You can show what’s inside your publication instead of just what’s on the cover, which will greatly increase list-building efforts and/or sales.
- Create a pre-publication incentive: Use embedded SlideShare presentations to offer a reason for your audience to order, or sign up for, your publication as soon as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create electronic incentives — like bonus videos, checklists, work sheets, interview transcriptions, or a preview chapter — that you can immediately send to those who commit to purchasing your content offerings in advance.
- Create a launch promotion: If you’re publishing a book or eBook that will be sold on Amazon.com, launch your book to success with a 24-hour promotion on the day your book appears. The easiest way to do this is to solicit bonus incentives from your marketing partners — others in your field who complement you, but don’t directly compete with you. If you can drive enough Amazon.com purchases in your book or eBook’s specific category during a 24-hour period, you can continue to describe your book or eBook as an Amazon Top 100 book!
Step 4: Profiting
Even the best publications can benefit from continued promotion. By updating your SlideShare presentations, you can continue to benefit from downloads of your list-building incentives and profits from purchasing content such as your white papers, books and eBooks.
Here are some ways to keep your publication relevant and newsworthy:
- Offer premium content updates: New ideas are likely to continue to appear long after the launch of your publication. Update your SlideShare presentations to leverage these ideas by offering them as bonus articles, reports, tip sheets, or work sheets available to those who haven’t yet downloaded or purchased your project. (Obviously, you can also offer them retroactively to those who have already downloaded or purchased your publication.)
- Slice and dice publication content for new markets: Look for ways to adapt your project for vertical markets and specific challenges. For example, if your original SlideShare presentation described the six chapters in your publication, create a series of six follow-up presentations, each focusing on a specific chapter in greater detail. Likewise, if your original SlideShare presentation focused on a topic serving a broad market (i.e., 101 List-Building Secrets), consider creating SlideShare presentations specific to your target markets (i.e., 101 List-Building Secrets for Self-Employed Professionals, 101 List-Building Secrets for Lawyers, 101 List-Building Secrets for Seasonal Hospitality Firms, etc.).
Tips for using SlideShare as a publishing tool
Here are some of the ways you can optimize your use of SlideShare as you begin to explore its capabilities.
- Update frequently: Don’t view your SlideShare presentations as set in stone. You can easily update them as new ideas and information becomes available. And, when you update a SlideShare presentation, you’re also updating the versions you’ve embedded elsewhere in your content.
- Show pages from your writing in your SlideShare presentation: Obtain a screen capture utility (like TechSmith’s SnagIt), which will allow you to easily add images of pages — and portions of pages — to your SlideShare presentations.
- Include a relevant URL within your presentation: Instead of grouping download or purchase links (such as links to download specific chapters), add the links to the page of your presentation that describes each chapter. (Note: Before uploading PDF presentations to SllideShare, be sure to use Acrobat Recorder’s Advanced Tools to activate all text links throughout your presentation. Uploading presentations is a good idea because it eliminates possible font problems.)
- Place reader reviews in the appropriate context: Instead of grouping reader reviews and comments from experts in your field together at the end of your SlideShare presentation, consider adding comments and reviews throughout your presentation. This is especially true if the reader comment is relevant to a specific chapter.
- Cultivate audio and video testimonials: There’s a huge difference between engaging reader reviews and testimonials that sit passively on a page. Always try to personalize comments and testimonials by adding a photograph. And whenever possible, solicit audio or video comments, which will add an extra dimension to the feedback your audience provides. (To learn more about using audio or video comments, explore resources for using Skype to record audio and video testimonials or services like Evoca.)
Additional SlideShare resources
For more information about using SlideShare as a content marketing publishing tool, see Todd Wheatland’s eBook, The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare, articles like 10 SlideShare Strategies that Will Boost Your Content’s Value, and Why SlideShare Is a Gamechanger for Authors.