Last June, I decided to invest some effort in sharing my ideas on Slideshare, where professionals display a wide range of presentations, infographics and reports. Since that time, my pieces have generated over 2 million views, and six times I have had the #1 most popular presentation of the week. I’d like to share what I’ve learned. Much of this piece originally appeared on the Slideshare blog, after they asked me to explain how I managed to generate so many views. “If you want to find a good-sized audience, browse the most popular SlideShares and see which categories attract the most interest.” Pick your audience first, not second In the old days (last year), I used to write about what was on my mind: technology, customer relationships, innovation, wireless sensors and more. No more. Now, I write about what’s on your mind. When it comes to Slideshare, I mainly create pieces about careers. This is where my interests seem to most overlap with the interests of many SlideShare members. Understanding this allows me to be specific with my titles, headlines, images and copy. If you want to find a good-sized audience, browse the most popular SlideShares and see which categories attract the most interest. Decide which one is the best fit with your expertise, then focus on it intensely. Be simple, but not simplistic For the most part, simple messages online work best. I get frustrated when people upload complex presentations on SlideShare. Such presentations require additional explanation and simply waste readers’ time. Even worse, many people create lengthy presentations without being entirely certain what they are trying to say. This is because it really is harder to write shorter pieces. To be honest, I take this too far. Many of my SlideShares have been a bit too short and too simplistic. I’m working on adding more details, while still focusing on one simple message. It’s challenging, no doubt. Get a running start I never depend on SlideShare alone to get my views up and running, and always embed my presentations elsewhere. In this manner, I “seed” the audience and get enough momentum to then get noticed on SlideShare. Embed and share your SlideShares on LinkedIn, your blog and on other sites. Create presentations with specific sites in mind. This is hugely important, because in my experience SlideShare works best when combined with other sites. I find that sometimes my LinkedIn articles power readership on SlideShare, but other times the exact opposite happens: Readership of my LinkedIn article is so-so, but the embedded presentation takes off on SlideShare. Think small. Really small If you are lucky enough to make it to the SlideShare homepage, the promotion image for your presentation will be roughly the size of a postage stamp. That’s enough room for a bold image and a few words, at most. I used to put a title and my name on each cover page, but then I realized that once someone clicks on my SlideShare, they can easily see the details in the description right under my presentation. This means you can, and should, use very few words in the cover page to draw people in. Also make sure those words are readable at that small thumbnail size. If you can find pictures that make the words easier to understand, that helps, too. Personally, I am still striving to do this more effectively.