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.”

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


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