The first week of 2013 has been a busy one for Branded3; it’s brought a new office in London, a variety of exciting new projects and clients and for me, finally making use of a site I spend an increasing amount of time on – SlideShare.
A presentation I created on how to make great presentations, managed to receive a staggering 85,000 views and made it onto the SlideShare homepage for days after! Obviously I was thrilled with this, but how did I do it?
For those of you who don’t yet use the site, it’s particularly great if you’re more of a vocational learner with a style more suited to visual content. Not everybody can read a chunk of text in a blog post and take it in, but understanding learning styles and behaviours is a whole different blog post!
Winning over your audience
Having sat through some drab strategy presentations over the past 10 years, I am determined to make my presentations better. This is an easy win in my eyes and potentially the difference between great chemistry meetings, pitches or campaign reviews and forgettable ones. Equally, from a client’s point of view, engaging key members of staff can be the difference between the project getting sign-off or not.
This is something we should be doing anyway as marketers, ultimately we try to master the art of persuasion, adapting to social trends and consumer behaviour for some huge brands that recognise how important the way they are represented and therefore perceived is. Surely then, this rule should apply to the perception of other documents such as in this case strategy presentations. This is how I view slides.
The problems with ‘death by PowerPoint’
Think of it this way; being lazy with your slides reflects laziness in your work. If you’re telling people how organised you are and why you deserve to be there, then poorly presented slides with no imagination gives off the opposite impression.
Equally, titles that dance around the top left-hand corner of the slide or change font size are simple mistakes and for me, in the same category as not spell checking. One of the things I’ve found from chatting to friends and other agencies at media meetings, is that documents aren’t often given the time and attention they require.
You wouldn’t (well, shouldn’t) build a website for £100,000 without paying close attention to the user experience and the journey that consumers take when interacting with that site. That process could take two months; the design may only take one week.
Similarly, your presentation may only be an hour but you may need to spend five to six hours putting the slides together. I mean, graduates out there – you wouldn’t wait until the night before submission deadline to write your dissertation would you? (Ok, so maybe this rule doesn’t apply to everything!).
From my perspective, if it’s not a killer piece of communication then it’s not a killer strategy. So if your slide decks are white, crammed with text, lots of bullet points and clip art then you might want to consider having a look at my recommendations.
The two types of slidedecks
As far as slides and presentations go, there are two clear types. One you present face-to-face, and one that you don’t. Simple. When you’re not presenting face-to-face you might want to add more detail to ensure that the user understands the points being made. Examples of this could be a slide version of a campaign review, where charts or data may need to be explained.
Getting more views by seeding your content
You’ll notice from looking at my SlideShare account that not all my presentations have managed 85,000 views, 700 downloads, 29 comments, 121 Tweets, 158 Likes and 168 LinkedIn shares. So what did I do differently on this slide deck? And what should you do when putting together something similar? My rule = research, promote, interact, follow-up…..and then repeat the cycle.
Research your topic
What else are other slides saying about creating presentations? I looked at what I thought to be the key points when creating slides and point people in the direction of how they can make their own slides better, by offering solutions, tools and a four-step process.
Promote your topic
In the case of these slides, I told people that I’d created them, asking them to tweet and share the slides on LinkedIn. These, for me are the most relevant social media platforms in terms of professional use so this made sense as I wanted my slides to be professional yet practical.
Interact with the community
Social media by its nature is being part of a community, so I was determined to be strict and interact with people who had shared my content. This included responding to comments on Slideshare itself, liking shares of it on LinkedIn and tweeting those that had been good enough to spare 140 characters for me.
It was this interaction which subsequently secured my how to create great slides for presentations slide deck onto the homepage of SlideShare and later on, become the presentation of the day for a couple of days running:
This act alone raised my Klout score from 51 to 55 in the same week.
Furthermore, I now have a community albeit small that are interested in my content. The challenge for me is to follow up.
Follow up content
Take this post as an example. Using the stats from above and assuming that they are all different people, I have a list of 447 social media users who liked my SlideShare content, so I have a list of 447 to contact when seeding and promoting this post about how I did it.
There you have it, no secret formula but a cycle that can be easily repeated. The key with any kind of content is not to assume it’s perfect every time, it can always be tweaked or reworked or adapted to fulfill different requirements.
Obviously, this is specifically aimed at an individual looking to build a following or community, if you’re a business or brand this framework would need to look more like this. However the image below shows a much more simplified process:
My next SlideShare deck which I’m currently working on is how to format slides for presentations – stay tuned!
The header image is by Kevin Dooley under the Creative Commons Licence.