My New Marketing Tool
Last year, I stumbled into SlideShare.
I’ve heard others talk about how a simple slideshow of their products gave them a boost in their business. And then there was the blogger that I follow who recently proclaimed that SlideShare is her top referral traffic program.
As a person who is always on the lookout for something visual and cool to promote my small business, I had to see for myself how this free presentation program works.
What is this SlideShare thing and why am I not using it?
By now, most of us have clicked on a link for more information and found ourselves flipping through a SlideShare presentation. But this visual storytelling program is more than just a site to upload your power point slides.
While everyone is trying to figure out how to reach more people in Facebook, SlideShare users are connecting quicker and easier with potential customers searching for their stuff.
SlideShare users are constantly on the site researching for information. They’re actively looking for businesses like yours and mine to help them learn something, explain something and basically help them solve the answers to their problems.
With over 60 million unique users logging in every month, SlideShare’s traffic isn’t just all about the latest power point slides from someone’s webinar. Your presentation can be anything from your product’s photos, how-to videos to PDF resource information files.
It’s more like a content marketing site that lets you use a slide deck to tell your stories. And for that reason alone, I’m planning to spend more time using this social program.
Where do you start?
I’ve been researching SlideShare as a marketing tool since last year. I even wrote a post for Small Biz Trends to give you some tips to optimize your presentation and to help you get leads from your slides.
I tested out my research and created a presentation to help me promote the launch of my 30 Minute Social Sessions Workbook. I re-worked the content from one of my blog posts, found some cool images and added in my custom font and uploaded that thing to my SlideShare account.
Honestly, it was not one of my shining moments in marketing my business. I got a few shares and clicks but not a lot of traffic to my site.
So what happened?
It’s a pretty simple explanation – I didn’t do a great job of visually telling my story. There was too much text and my custom font didn’t convert into the presentation format. Basically, the whole thing just didn’t flow.
BUT since I really believe that SlideShare can be a great marketing tool for my business, I’m going to take another shot at this thing. I re-researched my research and decided to take this whole project back to the basics.
It’s really all about the images. Your presentation will be more powerful and connect with more people if your images portray the message of your story.
Visual Storytelling with SlideShare
Let me walk you through this process to create a visual story using SlideShare.
1. Your Story
The best place to start is to choose your story. What is the message you want to share? What will be the main focus of the presentation?
Here are some prompts to give you some ideas:
- Is there a blog post that you can use for the content in the slides?
- Do you have a product or service page with great copy on your site where you explain how your programs can help someone?
- Can you pick one thing that you know a ton of stuff about that can save someone time, money or both?
2. Your theme
With your story in place, you can now move into the look and feel of your slide deck. It’s time to think about your colors and font style.
You want your presentation to be visually appealing but not overly designed. Remember, you’re telling your story not trying to re-create a Picasso painting.
Spend a little time thinking about your color palette:
- If you get stuck with where to start, try Colourlovers.com – just click around the site and you’ll find tons of color palette ideas.
- Use your website or logo as inspiration to give you a consistent look with your brand.
- You could also ditch the color scheme and just go black/white or another solid color/white or black.
Use these guidelines to help you with your fonts and text:
- Use up to 3 good clean fonts – when I tried to use my custom font, SlideShare didn’t recognize the font style and converted into a basic Arial font. This messed up some of my pages as the text was placed in certain places to read the font.
- Make sure that your font is clean and easy to read.
- The fewer words you use for each slide, the better and the cleaner it’ll look (one of my mistakes was too much text!).
- If you have bullet points in your information, break them up into separate slides.
3. Your Images
The images you choose are the biggest part of this process. Once you worked out your story and figured out your visual theme, start thinking about images that will flow with these concepts.
And then let the search begin. Don’t worry about what will go where, just collect everything you can find that will fit into your theme and weave it’s way in and out of your story.
Before I go through the different types of images you can use, I want to talk about the one big major mistake I made: My opening slide.
I’ve taught way too many workshops and I’m use to creating the basic opening slide with the name of workshop and where I am. And that’s what I created for my opening slide for my SlideShare first try. It was boring and dull and now I’m not surprised that a lot of people didn’t click on my presentation.
As you work through your image collection process, think about what you can use for a cool opening slide. Seriously, this first slide is what sets the tone for presentation.
It’s like the cover of your visual storybook.
Now let’s review the types of images you can use in your presentation:
- Authentic – these are the images that show us those everyday moments. It’s an image from a slice of life and the reader can see themselves in these photos.
- Sensory – images in a sensory form will take us away from the digital screen. They create a visual connection with the reader that makes your slides more than just text. We can imagine ourselves being in that image where we can see, hear, taste and even smell what’s on our screen.
- Character – these images capture something timeless and universal that we all can understand like superheros or a vintage look from the 50’s. We may not see ourselves in these images but we can jump into the story and enjoy the ride.
One extra note about using images from the photo search sites — don’t forget to add in extra page at the end giving the photography credit. You can either set it up as a link to their site or write out the name of the site. Just make sure that you provide some type of attribution for the images that you used in your presentation.
5. Put it all together!
Now take all your design elements and pull them together with your copy. Run the presentation as you would if you were teaching a workshop (in reading view) so you can see your slide deck as a whole. That’s the best way for you to look through the program and see what needs to be changed, moved or removed from the presentation.
Your goal is to have your presentation tell your visual story on it’s own.
As your reader moves through the slides, you want them to start connecting and knowing that they understand you and your business. It becomes more than just a bunch of slides. It becomes something real.
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