5 Tips for Creating a Top-Performing SlideShare Presentation

PropelGrowth Blog - Financial Services Marketing and Content Strategy

Helpful tips to make your SlideShare presentations shine.

Move over, Twitter and LinkedIn. SlideShare is on track to becoming one of the most influential social media platforms of our day. Ranked among the top 120 most-visited websites in the world, this presentation-sharing site averaged 60 million unique visitors a month in 2013, and had 215 million page views.

But while SlideShare is recognized as an incredibly effective platform for sharing content, it remains an untapped resource for many B2B marketers. Part of the reason for this is that a lot of marketers aren’t sure how to leverage the platform. So today we’ve compiled a list of 5 tips that will help you craft a winning SlideShare presentation that gets more views, shares and likes than you may have thought possible.

Tell A Story

Creating a presentation that doesn’t put people to sleep continues to be a major challenge for many professionals. They get bogged down by including lists of facts and boring stock images that don’t add much value.

Often marketers view a PowerPoint presentation as a means of relaying information, when in reality they should be using it as a very visual way of storytelling. SlideShares that tell a distinct and interesting story with a clear beginning, middle and end, perform better because they are easier for readers to digest and relate to. One example of effective storytelling is to share a relevant personal experience that supports or adds meaning to your message. This can be an ideal way to connect with customers and prospects as it makes you more vulnerable, and therefore seem more human.

Add a Touch of Humor

As B2B marketers specializing in the FinTech space, we see a lot of PowerPoint presentations that are way too serious, uptight and technical. Let’s just say this combination is not terribly memorable for viewers. It’s also not going to get you a lot of likes on SlideShare.

If you think about it, the common denominator of most viral marketing is humor. People love to laugh, so where appropriate, interject some appropriate puns and entertaining metaphors into your presentation.  Even something as simple as using a whimsical image to drive your point home can be enough to prompt your readers to share your content. Here is an example of a SlideShare that conveys ideas in a particularly witty way.

Say it in Less Words

A fatal mistake a lot of people make when crafting a presentation is using the slides as a script. They will write everything they plan to say directly on the slide in *gasp* bullet points. Text-heavy slides appear way too cluttered and busy. They ultimately detract and distract from your main message.

When crafting SlideShare presentations, less really is more – particularly when it comes to text. Limit yourself to one big idea per slide. This can be as short as one or two words if you can so succinctly get your point across. To reduce your odds of death by bullet points, simply refrain from using them. Instead, write in simple, easily understandable phrases that speak directly to your audience. Give people clear direction on attaining the goal you are proposing. Try using common industry terms that position you as an “insider.” Also consider posing thought-provoking questions as a means of upping the ante in your audience engagement.

Use Infographics

When it comes to presentation graphics, often business professionals limit themselves to dull stock photography or cartoonish Clip Art. Neither of these design approaches are likely to wow your audience.

When done well, infographics can attract a lot of attention and even turn viral. In fact, infographics on SlideShare are liked five times more than presentations, and 21 times more than documents. They are also shared more on social networks. In my research, I noticed a couple of the best-performing SlideShares had included infographics as actual slides within their presentations. These got a lot of likes and shares.

The key to creating an impactful infographic is to know your target audience and what issues they are really interested in. Then build your infographic around one of these burning topics. The beauty of infographics is that they can make complicated ideas appear more straightforward. To retain this simplicity, stick to a single point that you want to express.

Simplify Design Layout

Since SlideShare is such a visual medium, how your words are showcased on the slide is almost as important as what you’re saying. One common thread I’ve noticed about top-performing SlideShares is that the fonts used are unique and different –not the standard ones marketers typically pick from their Word dropdowns. Another observation is that the words themselves become a deliberate part of the design. Presentation creators accomplish this by using various font sizes, boldness and colors as a way of emphasizing key ideas. Check out this example of an extremely popular SlideShare that features an eye-catching way of handling font design.

In terms of overall layout, keep it simple. A good guideline is one image per slide that really pops. Conceptual images or ones that add humor are a good bet. Also, pay attention to your length. According to Forbes, 45% of the presentations on SlideShare have 10-30 slides with an average of 24 words per slide. Lastly, don’t forget a call to action button so viewers have a way to contact you if they like what they see.

SlideShare Presentations that Engage

SlideShare presents a great opportunity for you to increase brand awareness and engagement with your target audience—with no investment. This is a free social sharing tool so there is literally a zero cost to entry. Plus you don’t need to be a technical guru to post content. You simply need a solid understanding of PowerPoint creation and what kind of topics are going to resonate with your audience. From there, uploading your content to the SlideShare site is cake.

For more tips on crafting content that drives engagement, check out our related post: How to Guarantee Your Content Engages Your Target Audience