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"May you live in interesting times" is the English translation of the first of three Chinese proverbs. These are very interesting times indeed for business owners struggling to market their products ...

"May you live in interesting times" is the English translation of the first of three Chinese proverbs. These are very interesting times indeed for business owners struggling to market their products and services without simultaneously emptying their bank account. It seems not a week goes by that I do not learn about another free or low-cost marketing tool on the Internet.

This week was no exception! CFO America opened an account at SlideShare.net, a free online slide hosting service. This article tells the story of what I learned and how the information can be applied in your free marketing efforts.

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12 Things You Should Know About SlideShare 12 Things You Should Know About SlideShare Document Transcript

  • Twelve Things YouShould Know AboutSlideShare"May you live in interesting times" is the English translation of the first of three Chineseproverbs. These are very interesting times indeed for business owners struggling tomarket their products and services without simultaneously emptying their bankaccount. It seems not a week goes by that I do not learn about another free or low-costmarketing tool on the Internet.This week was no exception! CFO America opened an account at SlideShare.net, a freeonline slide hosting service. Users can upload files in PowerPoint and pdf formats,among others. It is comparable to YouTube, but is primarily for slideshows. Launched in2006, the website was originally intended as a vehicle for businesses to share slides with heemployees. However, it has since expanded to host slides and videos for entertainment, entertaineducational and other purposes purposes.SlideShare claims 50 million visitors and 90 million page views per month, ranking it asone of the top 250 websites in the world The White House used SlideShare to publish world.President Obamas birth certificate in April 2011. The impressive list of blue ribbon users ualso includes NASA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IBM, several branches of theU.S. military, Dell and the University of Texas.Here is the list of things I learned about SlideShare that will help you "Avoid Market AvoidObscurity": 1. Begin your exciting marketing experience by opening a free account at http://www.slideshare.net/. You will be asked to create a public profile that ttp://www.slideshare.net/. includes a description of your business, address and contact information, logo or picture, website link, industry keyword tags, and other basic information. Start by , industry, visiting CFO Americas profile at http://www.slideshare.net/CFOAmerica. rofile http://www.slideshare.net/CFOAmerica 2. Like most "free" online services, this on has several upgraded versions. They range ike one in price from $19 to $249 per month. The extra fees buy customized channels, he expanded functionality, visitor analytics and the removal of banner ads, among other advantages. All upgrade include Zipcast, a virtual meeting service similar to upgrades the better-known and admittedly more robust GoToMeeting. The advantage is that known GoToMeeting. 1
  • subscribers receive a customized link to share with their attendees. Those attendees merely click the link without the need to download software or open a SlideShare account. Regular readers already know my advice on this one! Even if these features appeal to you, I suggest you resist the urge to upgrade until after you have had an opportunity to evaluate your experience over the first thirty to ninety days. You may find the additional cost is unnecessary. I should add that the free service includes unlimited slide shows and documents, plus three videos per month.3. SlideShare collaborates with social media giants Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote and share content. For example, you can embed presentations on your Facebook Fan Page, your LinkedIn profile or your blog. I embedded a document on my Fan Page, a simple matter of coping and pasting a code supplied by SlideShare. The document can now be opened in full screen. Viewers can also like, retweet or otherwise share presentations with their followers and connections. Three of my PowerPoint presentations had over 200 combined views during their first 3 days online. One of my pdf documents (a reprint of this article) was featured on SlideShares home page, and was viewed over 1,500 times during its first 36 hours online. I am confident this activity, which puts to shame my YouTube statistics, was largely the result of the other social media services. Take full advantage of these capabilities for maximum market exposure.4. I preach a simple 12-word marketing strategy to clients and friends. It is this: Communicate one message, promoting one brand, to multiple audiences, at no cost. While item #3 fully supports this strategy, do not stop there! I issued three free press releases, one of which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/ipIFnF. I also published this information using several free article marketing websites and periodically retweet links to presentations.5. The first slide of a PowerPoint presentation or the first page of a pdf document will appear as a small icon link on your profile page. It should be readable, attractive and descriptive to invite viewers. I include my logo and blog URL on every download. You will also be asked to provide a description, category and tags for each file. Making this information keyword rich makes it easier for interested views to locate you slide shows and videos. Making something keyword rich simply means using certain words and phrases that potential customers are likely to use in search engines when looking for your company, products or services.6. SlideShare gives users the option of allowing viewers to download files. Since you are posting files in a very public venue, I see no reason not to allow downloads. 2
  • Additionally, presentations can be made available only to authorized viewers with any of the upgraded versions. It is then a viable option to share private files that are simply too large to email. An example might be a large contract or proposal in pdf format. If you do not know how to create a pdf file, download CutePDF Writer at http://cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp. It is a free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a printer subsystem. This enables virtually any Windows applications to create professional quality pdf documents.7. SlideShare can be used to promote and support your event marketing efforts. For example, you can make advanced copies of upcoming seminars available online to help invitees decide whether to attend, or provide copies to interested parties who are unable to attend.8. Users and their followers can post additional information on their wall, very similar to Facebook. I posted a notice of a free seminar based on one of my uploaded files, along with a link to EventBrite for event details. Viewers can also post comments on individual slide shows.9. I was pleased to see that PowerPoint speakers notes are visible for each slide. Even if you do not usually take advantage of this feature in your presentations, you should consider using it to replace whatever narrative you would ordinarily add in a live venue.10. One PowerPoint feature that will not translate through SlideShare is animation. I typically have numerous visuals enter and exit slides as appropriate to support my verbal narration. In reviewing my posted slide shows, I quickly noticed that all visuals are in screen. In my case, this made for some very busy slides. Consider tailoring your uploaded slides accordingly.11. If you decide one or more slides do not convey the full story after you view them online, you can simply adjust your PowerPoint or pdf document and replace the original file with a new upload. This will save having to reenter descriptions and tags, something I learned was necessary after I deleted several files to make minor changes. It also maintains continuous viewing statistics.12. I am always surprised by the cost of printing projects. My frustration over this expense is magnified by the need to "bring a few extra copies" just in case more attendees show up than expected, while knowing most will be left behind or eventually tossed in the trash. SlideShare presents an opportunity to reduce or 3
  • eliminate this outlay. I suggest presenting only a cryptic outline of your presentation at the event, probably no more than one or two pages. The purpose of this short handout is merely to facilitate note taking. It has the added advantage of directing attendees attention to you rather than flipping through a voluminous handout. Allow attendees to download their own slides, either before or after the seminar. Since they will only print those of interest, this is a legitimately green initiative.As a last bit of advice, if you are one of the almost 15 million unemployed Americans,please consider creating and posting a visual resume on SlideShare.net. It will addanother venue for prospective employers to find you, while demonstrating yourcommunication skills and knowledge of current social media tools.Well, that is my entire list. I hope you will find something of value, and moreimportantly that it will encourage you in your continuing pursuit of the low-costmarketing experimentation I talked so much about in my book, Highly Visible Marketing- 115 Low-cost Ways to Avoid Market Obscurity.Finally, for the record the other two Chinese proverbs are "May you come to theattention of powerful people" and "May you find what you are looking for." Again, bothwould seem to apply to my small business and middle-market target audience,especially when you consider that the most powerful person of all is the customerwhose attention you are looking for! © 2011 by Dale R. SchmeltzleAbout the author: Dale R. Schmeltzle, CPA is a founding partner of CFO America, professionalconsultants dedicated to helping business owners define, implement and monitor the strategic andtactical elements necessary to achieve long-term financial and operational success. CFO Americaprovides fractional or part-time executive management expertise not available on an in-house basis.Dale has been a frequent author and speaker for numerous professional, civic and non-profit groups. Hewrote Highly Visible Marketing, 115 Low-cost Ways to avoid Market Obscurity. He has also taughtcollege level accounting and financial courses to non-business audiences. For more information, pleasevisit http://www.CFOAmerica.biz or follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CFOAmerica. Consulting CFOs & Executive Managers 4