This is the story of how we DIDN’T get featured on SlideShare’s homepage
Looking at the view count of the decks on the SlideShare homepage made us drool; thousands to hundreds of thousands of views - per deck. From where we were standing this looked like the motherload of content exposure; when last did a piece of your content get thousands of views?
Add to that the fact that your brand name is there alongside the deck, that is a pretty sweet brand awareness boost. True, if you’re as big as Nike, you don’t give a damn about SlideShare, but for a small SaaS startup this would be the equivalent of Ben Affleck mentioning Aflac on a talkshow.
It got us curious enough to wonder about the lead gen capabilities of SlideShare, and so we set a target: create a SlideShare that’ll be featured on the homepage.
Although we are totally into inventing the wheel, we assumed that some other companies or individuals had already taken upon themselves the very same endeavour. The fact that there are decks on SlideShare’s homepage, confirmed our hypothesis. So we turned to Google and read a bunch of How to Get Featured on SlideShare and How I Got a Gazillion Views on SlideShare articles.
This would be a good opportunity to say that folks can get very generous online with pointers, tips, advice and actionables. So kudos to ya’ll.
We made a list of stuff we needed to do during and after uploading the deck to SlideShare. Stuff from having a reputable publication feature it on their site, to inflaming a tweet-storm with the handles @slideshare and @slidesharetoday, all the way to uploading it at 3am EST. Hey, that’s what the internet said! (The logic behind this very specific time is as follows: apparently the homepage editors are in the EST time zone. While they sleep, you upload your deck and attempt to accumulate a body of tweets with the above handles so once said editors awake and reach their office their Twitter notifications are bursting at the seams with mentions of your extraordinary deck.)
We felt pretty confident that we knew what needed to be done in order to get noticed by the homepage editors, as well as what they were looking for in a deck that would be unique enough to garner a featured status. So yes, SlideShare’s homepage has real, human editors that “handpick” the decks to be featured and they are “experts”. Experts on what? Not sure, but that’s how a SlideShare Consumer Support Specialist defined them. More on that soon.
All we had to do now was figure out what the deck would be about, and create it.
It was clear that in order to get the editors’ attention you needed to stand out, another PPT-like, board-meeting presentation ain’t gonna cut it; the first slide is mucho important, it needs to be as beautiful as a cherry tree in the spring, as well-phrased as a Raymond Carver sentence and as promising as the child incarnation of the Lama; or just mention Gwyneth Paltrow, that works too.
After much deliberation we zoomed on a collaboration with Dribbble designers, a one-of-a-kind-deck - an illustrated Content Journey; a piece of content about content like no other before it; easily consumable and easy on the eye. It was original enough to be unique and reasoned enough to be relevant.
Two months of laboring over every word, contacting designers via Dribbble, illustrations flew back and forth, exhaustive work of twining words and images - but it was all worth it. When it was done, it was all that it could be - everything one could ask of content.
With such a head-turner in our hands, we assumed that if we’d manage to get the attention of SlideShare’s homepage editors, they would give a stage to such a labor-intensive, unusual deck; it’s not every day that a custom-made deck of 52 original illustrations by 14 designers from all around the world coupled with actionable content targeted at content marketers is uploaded to SlideShare.
We knew what we needed to do, in detail, based on proven experience of those who’d already done it.
We executed our plan of attack by the book. We uploaded to SlideShare during the whee EST hours (OK, so maybe it wasn’t at exactly 3am, more like 1:30am.) We turned to Twitter and commenced a targeted onslaught, with help from friends and colleagues.
Less than 24 hours later it was published on the Convince & Convert blog, a high-traffic, stellar-reputation publication. This is another pointer we got from those who have conquered SildeShare’s homepage, that we need to have a third-party site publish the deck. We didn’t stop there. In the following days the deck was republished on TheSocialMediaHat, DigitalDoughnut, Elder Tree’s Turn and our own BrightInfo blog.
On top of that it got more than 500 Twitter mentions, shares and retweets, a few dozens LinkedIn shares; and some downloads directly from the SlideShare site. This was actually more than we expected. We got serious traction, mentions from heavy hitters such as Jeff Bullas, Ian Cleary, Daniel Knowlton, Larry Wants, Ryan Hodgson, Brett Relander. Phew! That was some serious name dropping.
Oh, and more than 6000 views.
SlideShare wise - nada. We refreshed the homepage again, still nothing. What the what is up with SlideShare?
One Month Earlier....
Ever noticed the top of SlideShare’s homepage? It says “Today’s Top SlideShares” - key word being today.
Underneath it “Featured SlideShares” - top two get a larger frame, and below them another eight decks, the creme de la creme, humanly curated, crafty and exquisite presentations.
That’s the real estate we were aiming for. Obviously while we were working on the deck we checked SlideShare’s homepage to gauge the competition, to get a sense of the editors’ tastes and in general, you know, feel a part of the deck-ish, slideshare-ish community.
But then, and this was about a month before the eventual publication of our deck, we noticed that things came to a halt on the homepage - decks simply stopped changing.