Quick, what’s the hardest thing about launching a course?

It’s definitely NOT creating and hosting it.

Teachable has got you covered with their plug-and-play platform...and all you need is an iPhone and some editing software and you’re making videos.

No, by far the HARDEST part of launching a course is finding students eager enough to buy what you are offering. This is where EVERYONE struggles.

Most people tell you to spend hours crafting content, giving away free material and building an audience - which you CERTAINLY should be doing.

But in this post, I’m going to make a case for using and mastering SlideShare to build an audience of rabid fans with less work and more impact than traditional marketing channels like blogging, and then I’m going to show you HOW to do it.

I'm Eugene Cheng, co­founder and creative lead of HighSpark, a strategic presentation consultancy serving Fortune 500 companies like Panasonic, Dentsu, and Nike. At our agency, we’ve perfected the craft of SlideShare to turn the platform into a traffic and lead machine for our business and we want you guys to realize the same success!

Just to give you an indication of how it’s worked out for me - I now have over 2 million views on my SlideShare channel from only 16 presentations...

Image_0-1.png ...and I’ve been getting 400 new email leads from ONE of those presentations every month for the last two years!

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Intrigued? Read on…

Why SlideShare?

Most people don’t know but SlideShare is the 168th rank website in the world according to Alexa and gets over 70,000,000 views every month (that’s over 2M per day!).

From what we’ve seen at our company most people using the platform are doing a horrible job. Which means there is an opportunity for you. We’ve been able to make it to the homepage about 80% of the time and have each presentation seen by a minimum of 20,000 people.

Let’s talk about why SlideShare is so powerful...

Visual Content Gets More Action

You may have heard this stat by now but our brains process visual information 60,000x faster than the written word. No wonder visual content is 40x more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content.

I’ve seen this most recently with our latest deck that received 20,000 views and almost 400 shares on social within the first week of it being published.

Plain and simple, if you want to make an impact and create a viral piece of content, presentations and infographics are the way to go.

3 Gorgeous Keynote & Powerpoint Templates [Free Download]3 Gorgeous Keynote & Powerpoint Templates [Free Download] has been viewed over 57K times and organically drives over 1,000 views per month.

GET THE SLIDES

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SERP Ranking for the Win

Here’s a mind-boggling fact…

70% of traffic to SlideShare comes from Google Search. We’ve leveraged this at HighSpark to become the #1 listing in search for “presentation design Singapore”.

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As a result, when Panasonic came searching for presentation designers, guess who they found.

But it’s not just limited to presentation companies - we interviewed Dave over at Driftt.com last month and he told us he ranked #1 for “what is product marketing” within 30 days of posting on SlideShare and got 28,000 views from that one presentation.

Now SlideShare accounts for 31% of all his blog’s traffic!

The power comes from combining SlideShare’s strong domain authority and long-tail keywords to drive significant amounts of traffic and views.

It’s Easy and People are Doing it Sooooo Wrong

Maybe I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s become easy but even a novice with a few tips I’ll show below can stand out from the crowd.

First of all, good blog posts require you to write 2-3000 words these days, which can be incredibly time consuming. Brian Dean over at BackLink.io says he spends 20 hours on EACH one he does.

Conversely, here’s a timelapse video of me making a presentation that got 110,000 views in under 2 hours flat:

Oh and one more thing - the average piece of content gets about 8 shares (dismal) - this presentation has 387 shares and counting (and that doesn’t even include Twitter stats).

You do the math - visual content is viral by nature

My Guide to Hacking Your Way to SlideShare Fame

So at this point you may be saying…”what can I do though, I suck at design, I’m not a presentation God like you Eugene, what can us mere mortals do”.

We’ll have no fear...Eugene is here.

Below is my guide to hacking your way to SlideShare fame:

Step 1: Choose a Topic + An Angle

By far, the most important thing you can do to get your presentation a lot of exposure is choosing a topic and angle that makes people want to share.

The easiest method is to jack a trending topic in the news and relate it in someway to your own course. This is called NewsJacking.

Here’s a presentation that Cory Jim (one of the Keynote speakers at our upcoming free virtual summit on SlideShare) did right around the release of the latest Star Wars movie.


The result...265,000 views and over 600 shares on social media.

By putting a spin on a highly viral event you are playing to what people already have top of mind and feeding off all the marketing dollars going into promoting that event (in this case a movie).

Moreover, make it emotional for people and they will be much more likely to take action by either sharing the deck or buying your course.

Step 2: Storyboard

Once you have an idea in place, it’s time to craft a compelling story.

Like all great stories there should be a natural progression from setting the scene to conflict to resolution and should include a villain and a lesson.

Think about your favorite childhood stories - I’m going to use Little Red Riding Hood. It starts with her heading to see her grandmother and she encounters the wolf (our villain) on the way.

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He tells her to use the shortcut to get to her grandmother’s and then runs around to dress up as her grandmother when she arrives. Our conflict is beginning.

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Next, just when she seems to be in real trouble and about to get eaten - a man comes to save the day (our resolution).

Finally, her grandmother teaches her an important lesson - don’t take shortcuts through life, do the hard work and it will pay off.

In the same way as the story of Little Red Riding Hood, setup your story to have a natural villain (living or not) and evoke empathy and emotion from your readers.

Use the conflict with the villain as the meat of your story and make your product the ultimate and only resolution for them.

Steve Jobs did this brilliantly with his presentations where he presented IBM, Microsoft and the other bloated, complex products as villains vs. the simplicity of Apple products.

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Step 3: Use Basic Designs

When actually going about designing your slides there are a few simple steps you can use to make them look like they were done by professionals:

Use a Simple Color Scheme

Don’t bother working with 4-5 colors - keep it simple with one base color (think grey, white, black) and an accent color to highlight important points.

Check out the great presentation covers below that only use two colors:

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When you need to single out an important feature of your course or a point readers should remember, make it a different color and make it BIG on the slide.

Use Tried & Tested Layouts That Work

Next, if you’re new to this, stick to three basic layouts…

First there is the text on a big HD background image that always works:

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Simply take a picture you like, blurr it or put it over a black square with opacity at 80% so that the picture still shows through and place your text overtop. You can do this all within Powerpoint (or Keynote), no expensive editing software needed.

Or you could use the rule of thirds, whereby your text fits into the empty space in your image. See below how we placed the text in the white space as the peacock was in the lower left third.

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Or simply use text to make your slide pop off the page. Make sure to single out important words which you can feature with your chosen accent color. See below:

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Buy Professional Images

The number one thing I tell my clients is to not cheap out on graphics for your presentation. By far, this is what most people do and it shows through on their slides.

We did this for a presentation for our client RocketShp which ended up winning one of the presentations of the year for 2015 presented by SlideShare.

To date it has 400,000 views and was shared over 250 times on social media. We used a set of icons from Creative Market that cost only $26. Here it is:

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If you want 20% off of EVERYTHING at Creative Market - make sure to signup for our free SlideShare virtual summit where we’ll be giving every person a bundle worth over $300 just for registering.

Here’s the link - The Largest SlideShare Virtual Summit Ever.

Step 4: Add Your Call To Action

Now, after the third slide you’re able to include a call to action (outbound link) to get people to opt-in to your mailing list or purchase/join your course.

Typically, people at this stage of your sales funnel will not be ready to buy so it’s important to instead get them on your email list so that you can build them up to a purchase.

Here’s the opt-in slide for our lead magnet that gets us 400 new emails per month. Notice how it’s not even that complicated but does have vivid colors to get your attention.

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And here’s our basic optin page:

Image_17-1.pngKeep it simple - maybe you just want to give a 5-page guide to readers or you could even just give away the exact deck they are reading.

Anyway you slice it, you have to include a call to action with every presentation you make or you’re just wasting your time.

Step 5: Optimize for Virality

Next, optimize your presentation for virality.

This means that when it’s published it will have the legs to get an initial stream of traffic before SlideShare themselves picks it up and your presentation explodes.

We do this in a few ways - one is to have a Pay-With-A-Tweet button embedded within one of your slides (usually the last one).

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By doing this, they are incentivized to share this with all of their followers and in return they get the presentation they are watching - it’s a simple trick but can 10x your views.

Another option is to do a round-up where you ask a bunch of influencers on your topic for a quote that you can then turn into a presentation.

When you are done and ready to publish, you simply notify them all that the presentation is live and that they have been mentioned - they will be very likely to end up sharing it with their followers.

Here’s one we did with the top authors on SlideShare that ended up getting over 13,000 views.

We use the ContentMarketer.io Notifier tool to mass message these experts on Twitter.

How it works is that you give it a link (in this case your SlideShare), it finds all the Twitter handles and then lets you message everyone at once!

Absolutely amazing!

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Step 6: Optimize for SEO & Publish

Only at this point should you even consider optimizing your presentation for SEO.

We do this after we have decided on the topic and filled in the content because keyword hunting shouldn’t be your end goal with creating a presentation.

Here’s how the the process works:

Start by searching for a chosen keyword using Google Keyword Planner. In this example, I simply put “powerpoint design” to start with.

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Looking through the list of suggestions, I came across “beautiful powerpoint” which was a long-tail keyword and decided to run with it.

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Although the view count is low, the competition is also much lower meaning I’ll be able to rank with ease especially given the domain authority of SlideShare.net.

As you can see in the picture below, it’s worked...

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...and this presentation alone has over 900,000 views and almost 4,000 shares on social!

Also be sure to select a filename that includes your chosen keywords as that is what SlideShare uses to make your URL.

Moreover, you can optimize your content on the slides to include the keyword as SlideShare pulls out all the content to make a readable indexable transcript.

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Step 7: Publish & Seed Traffic

Finally, you are ready to publish. Choose a time around midnight or 2am EST to publish.

This will give your presentation the maximum amount of time to get noticed by SlideShare editors and get enough views on your publishing date.

SlideShare editors have the final say on which three presentations get chosen for the homepage and getting that initial push will put your presentation on their radar.

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That’s how we’ve been able to get featured as the top 3 presentations over 80% of the time!

Eugene Cheng, expert presentation designer explains how you can attract an avalanche of new students for your next course (launch, digital product, etc) using SlideShare. Click to read about his tips to go viral, even if you're not a designer!

Final Thoughts

Building an audience using visual content has not only been SIGNIFICANTLY easier for me but has also been extremely lucrative in how many leads have flowed my way over the past 2 years.

People simply LOVE SlideShare and it allows me to tell a story in a much more engaging way that gets people to take action.

If you are struggling with traffic and it seems like all hope is lost - take the basic principles of storytelling above to create a visual narrative that have people lining up to take your course.

AND If you want to really learn everything there is about SlideShare and design - we are hosting a free 4-day virtual summit from March 9th through 14th where you’ll learn how to create presentations, better, faster and reach more people. To sign up for free, CLICK HERE.

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Eugene Cheng

Written by Eugene Cheng

Eugene Cheng is the co­founder and creative lead of HighSpark (formerly Slide Comet, a strategic presentation consultancy serving Fortune 500 companies like Panasonic, Dentsu, and Nike. A self­-confessed presentation lover, he relishes in building compelling visual content for his agency’s channel and his personal channel on SlideShare and is also a Keynote Author ( top 1% of SlideShare).