Last week, I presented a personal branding workshop with Sarah Storer to the Ohio State University Public Relations Student Society of America. While I admit that Sarah is a better public speaker, I thought I had done a decent job of developing our presentation deck. So after the event, I published our slides on SlideShare. In less than a week, we had more than 600 views. Yes, for a presentation we did for college kids.
After seeing the interest in our personal branding presentation, it occurred to me that SlideShare might be a great way to generate leads for my own business. So what is SlideShare?
SlideShare is a business-to-business social network and the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. According to its website, it has 45 million monthly vistors and 90 million pageviews, making it one of the 250 most-visited websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, and videos. Plus, you can create SlideCasts, which are traditional SlideShare presentations combined with MP3 files to create webinars, recorded lectures, and more. (I’ve already decided that a SlideCast is going to be my next project!)
To develop a presentation that would generate good leads, I first researched and reviewed the types of presentations that rank highest on SlideShare’s homepage. I was amazed and inspired by several of the more popular presentations. I thought I had done a good job for the OSU personal branding slides, but clearly I’ve met my creative PowerPoint match within the SlideShare community.
That said, it appears text-heavy presentations are not as popular as those with a strong visual layout. In the real world, when you use PowerPoint as a visual aid, you’re able to narrate your presentation. But on SlideShare, your slides have to speak for themselves and the best way to do that is visually. Simply put: creativity and personality matter at SlideShare.
To generate a decent number of views, I recommend connecting your SlideShare account with LinkedIn and sharing your presentation on Twitter, Facebook, or your other favorite social media sites. Sarah and I both tweeted about the personal branding presentation and I shared the deck on every social site with which I have an account. This is a crucial step; you don’t want to spend a considerable amount of time on your presentation to not have it viewed!
After reviewing the more popular presentations, I developed a strategy, which I think is an important step for anyone embarking on this project. I wanted to leave the door open for curiosity by the end of the deck, but to do that I needed to give the viewer enough information that they would be inspired to take action and contact me after seeing the presentation. I concentrated on a strong lead-in on the first slide (the old “judge a book by its cover” rule) and slide No. 2 has the hook. Yes, slide No. 2.
The headline is just as important as the visual presentation on the first slide, so don’t simply describe your presentation. Sell your audience on viewing your presentation.
Finally, I spent a large amount of time coming up with a theme and trying to make each slide visually interesting− but all within the same theme. This took more time than I originally planned, but I think the end result was worth it. I’ll let you be the judge:
Are you using SlideShare to generate leads? Did this article motivate you to consider giving it a try? Is there anything I’ve missed that can add to this article?