A New Essential Tool that Belongs in Every Marketer's Utility Belt

By now every marketer worth their salt knows that content media is the new black. Instead of blatantly shoving ads in the faces of consumers, you pique their interest, lure them in with helpful or entertaining content, win their trust and hopefully, gain a loyal customer. But with so many companies out there vying for attention on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, how does one get heard above the din?

For businesses and brands looking for a new audience, there’s a tremendous amount of potential in SlideShare.

Founded in October 2006 as an online community for sharing presentations and other professional content, the site has morphed into a platform for sharing everything from photos, how-to guides and inspirational musings to resumes, portfolios and marketing ideas. And with over 60 million unique visits every month, SlideShare has 500% more traffic from business owners than LinkedIn (its owner), Facebook and Twitter.

In a nutshell, SlideShare is not just for boring presentations anymore. People are clamoring for content. If you can design a great presentation, SlideShare can be a goldmine.

Designing a Powerful Presentation

The first step in creating a presentation is to determine your message. If your goal is simply to get viewers to click on a link, you need to come up with a reason why. Use your slides to tell a story and get your ideas across.

Presentations can be created in PowerPoint, Google Presentations, Canva or any other presentation builder, but should be 1024px by 768px in order to fill the screen when uploaded. They can also be saved and uploaded as a PDF, which will make embedded links clickable. Keep in mind, however, that SlideShare will disable any links placed in the first three slides of a presentation.

It’s All About the Images

SlideShare is a purely visual tool, so you’ll want to include some captivating imagery, the more unusual the better. Even if it’s as simple as a happy face or an arrow, every slide should have some sort of image or graphic to help illustrate the story.

Photographs don’t have to be of the product, either. It could be of a dog with a bone, a wrecked automobile or a child blowing out birthday candles; anything that gets the point across in an unexpected way.

Fonts and Colors

Fonts and colors should be stunning yet consistent. A rainbow of colors or a kaleidoscope of typefaces will make the presentation look busy and disorganized. Common practice is to combine a sans serif header typeface with a serif body typeface for a header that pops and body text that is easily legible. For the typographically challenged, a serif typeface contains the tiny ends at the bottom of each character (such as Times New Roman).

The best-looking presentations use a vibrant color taken from the main image or logo as a base, and another vivid, contrasting color as a highlight. Keep your color scheme consistent throughout your slides to pull the presentation together.

How Long is Too Long?

Think of a presentation as an anecdote; if you take too long to get to the punchline, you’ll lose your audience. The average length of a presentation on SlideShare is 14 slides. Go much beyond 25 and you’re pushing your luck.

Title and Description

The title and description you create for your presentation will be used in Google search results, so make it compelling and be sure to include keywords. Keep in mind that Google will only use the first 65 and 155 characters of the title and description, respectively.

For marketers, SlideShare is a great venue to showcase content creation skills, as well as another way to build a brand’s online presence. All of the information entered when uploading a SlideShare file is indexed by Google, and some 12 million hits each month come from Google traffic. And if your presentation is amazing enough to be featured on the SlideShare home page, it may even go viral.