SlideShare: B2B Marketing’s Dark Horse

In case you haven’t figured it out yet – this makes SlideShare an ideal platform for B2B companies.  B2B businesses tend to be chock full of presentations. For the most part, these are presentations that can easily be repurposed for marketing purposes.  

And if you think no one’s interested in presentations – think again.  SlideShare received some 60 million visitors per month in 2011, up from just 1.5 million per month in 2007.  It’s not ‘Old Spice Guy’ kind of traffic, but it’s impressive nonetheless.  SlideShare’s also one of the top 150 sites on the web and displays around 3 billion slide views a month. If you thought your last presentation was rushed that’s around 1,140 per second.

The gradual increase of B2B businesses on social media and intrinsically good SEO in presentations (if you’re not using keywords in your slide titles then what are you using?) likely have something to do with the platform’s phenomenal growth.

Fortunately we can also use all of these presentations to guide the development of our own future decks.

An infographic from ColumnFiveMedia (which can be seen in all it’s glory here) does show us some interesting facts about the “optimal presentation.” Among the most interesting:

  • Brevity is key: 78% of decks have 30 or fewer slides and the average number of slides per deck is 19.
  • Go Visual: There’s an average of 19 graphics per deck (the same as the number of average slides per deck).
  • Don’t hidetheball: The average number of words per slide? Only 24.

This does lead to a somewhat interesting discussion regarding deck design.  Upon designing a presentation the author needs to consider – will this presentation be “presented” or will it live on its own, i.e. will it not have the benefit of a speaker to actually deliver the message.

With a live presentation the host would want to be the attention hog, and rightfully so.  The deck is created to more illuminate points being spoken about. Consider any good TED video you’ve seen – the “speech” could live on its own, but the points raised are magnified by the accompanying presentation.

On the other hand, standalone presentations need to deliver their message completely within the presentation itself – likely resulting in more than 24 words per slide.

So then, how do we design a presentation that can both be presented effectively and can live on its own, assuming we want to repurpose the content?

It seems there are two main options:

  • Try to strike a middle ground – Draft the presentation with both goals in mind: provide as little enough information as needed to keep it interesting but enough to cover the topic.  A college professor of mine called this the ‘skirt’ rule for essay length to his freshman level philosophy students.
  • Do it twice, or more accurately, make two versions.  One that’s presented, and then a second, expanded, version (potentially starting with the short version) that fully expounds on the points brought up in the smaller version.  This one really allows the author to capitalize on their keyword research for full SEO benefit.

What have your experiences been with SlideShare?  Have you changed your own presentation style based on the ability to share the presentations with the world at large?

Photo courtesy flickr user Engin Erdogan.