How to Repurpose Your Content Into an Ideal SlideShare Deck

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by Chris Brown

With 60 million visitors and over 130 million pageviews per month, SlideShare is one of the world’s most powerful B2B sites.

Business executives use SlideShare at a rate that’s five times greater than their rate of use for other social networks, comScore reports.

Repurposing your content for SlideShare is easy and helps you to get more mileage out of an existing investment.

Using content you already have also lets you focus on structure and format instead of on generating entirely new material.

What It Is

SlideShare is a slide hosting service. Users can upload and create slide decks from their PDFs or PowerPoint presentations. Files are uploaded, creating slide decks on the site. The decks can then be shared not only with colleagues but also with the wider SlideShare audience, as well as embedded in blogs and other websites.

Choosing the Right Content

Review your content assets to decide what you can repurpose into a SlideShare deck. Look for content that meets these criteria:

  • Leads with a problem. Fast Company blogger David Brier suggests picking a sacred cow in your industry and demonstrating why it’s a problem. He also suggests choosing a major industry trend and how it could affect certain businesses. Lead with the problem by spelling it out on your title slide and summarizing it in your introductory slides.
  • Offers a solution that isn’t all “you.” Shameless self-promotion doesn’t perform well on SlideShare. Instead, discuss a strategy, method, or approach that you’d use to solve the problem you’ve introduced.
  • Breaks down easily into nuggets. SlideShare presentations tend to consist of 10-30 slides, and one slide contains about 24 words, on average. Choose a content piece that can easily be summarized in an outline.

Structuring Your SlideShare Deck

Since many people will navigate to your SlideShare content from a search page, it’s crucial to optimize your SlideShares for search engines. However, search engine optimization merely guides people to your content. The quality and flow of your presentation will transform traffic into leads.

It might seem tempting to compose your SlideShare deck using PowerPoint, but you’re better off deciding on the structure before you put your slides together. Create a hierarchical outline using one of these tools before constructing your slide show (with PowerPoint or other tool):

  • Sticky notes. Create one sticky note for each narrative section of your content. Beneath that note, add other notes containing brief points that you want to make about the section. Move notes or discard them as needed.
  • Mind maps. The title of your content is the central field on your mind map. Connect each narrative section to the title field, and then connect individual slides to the narrative section heading fields. When complete, a mind map looks a bit like a flowchart. (XMind is a good free tool for mind mapping.)
  • Outlining tools. Tools such as Checkvist create outlines that display all your information at a glance, although they don’t provide the visual support of sticky notes or mind mapping.

Presenting Your Slide Show

Keep these tips in mind to create a memorable SlideShare presentation:

  • Use effective visual elements. David Brier says to avoid the same stock photos that everyone else is using. Focus instead on images that convey information: graphs for presenting data, diagrams for explaining a process, or timelines for displaying chronological events. If you construct your presentation in PowerPoint, choose a common font, such as Arial. Otherwise, if you want to use a special font, upload your slide show as a PDF.
  • Construct slides for different purposes. Take time with your title slide because it’s the first slide that someone who navigates to your content will see. Create section header slides for each narrative section, and provide an organizational slide that will explain how you’re laying out the content.
  • Use narrative slides. Between sections, use narrative slides to transition between ideas. Well-written narrative slides will motivate readers to keep reading the next stage of your presentation. When silently reading narrative slides, the audience should hear your brand’s authentic voice.
  • Keep it brief. If you can’t fit all your content into a SlideShare presentation, then hit the most important points and cut out the rest. Also, avoid cramming too much text on your slides. It’s better to have a lot of slides that use minimal text than it is to have a few slides packed full of text.
  • Include a call to action. SlideShare presentations have many of the same qualities as well-written content. They are cleanly structured, easy to follow, and contain a call to action. The viewer of your presentation shouldn’t have to guess what the next course of action is.

People who view your SlideShare won’t have you around to explain the information to them. Your goal is to build a slide show that delivers a compelling standalone narrative.