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3/15/2013
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LinkedIn's SlideShare Content Ads: 6 Do's And Don'ts

Use this new option wisely. Here are six ways to engage, rather than enrage, with LinkedIn SlideShare Content Ads.

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LinkedIn is leveraging its 2012 SlideShare acquisition to boost its ad portfolio. Slideshare Content Ads, announced this week, enable organizations to run SlideShare presentations within standard display units on the site.

SlideShare Content Ads provide an interesting way for businesses to get their message across to customers and potential customers, but there's a lot of potential for getting a presentation very wrong -- especially in an advertising and marketing context. Here are six ways to engage, rather than enrage, with SlideShare Content Ads.

1. Don't Waste Users' Time

Users are making a bet when they click on a content-rich ad that the content they are about to consume will provide some value to them, not just blatantly extol the virtues of this service or that product. If users feel that they have wasted even a minute by clicking on your ad, you've engendered bad feelings about your brand -- probably the opposite of what was intended. (In this regard, it is also good that LinkedIn SlideShare Content Ads expand in a window, rather than taking users off the site.)

[ Do you know what Pinterest users are doing with your content? See Pinterest's New Analytics: What Business Gains. ]

2. Think Like An Editor

An editor's job is to put himself or herself in the shoes of the reader in order to develop content that will be relevant and useful. When you develop content for SlideShare Content Ads (or, really, for anything), think about what will educate or entertain the intended (or prospective) audience. Think about what will make their jobs and their lives easier. Of course the whole point is to advertise and market your wares, but presentation context demands subtlety in that regard.

3. Don't Just Plunk Any Old Presentation Into The Ad Space

It may be tempting to repurpose existing presentations as SlideShare Content Ads, but what worked for, say, a product demo or internal presentation probably won't work as an advertising tool -- not without some major tweaking.

4. Don't Be Too Wordy

When it comes to presentations, there are few things worse than a screen filled with dense text that ends up being boring and usually barely readable.

5. Get Graphic

While you want to provide some textual context, it's important that your slides incorporate visually interesting graphics.

6. Keep It Short

No one wants to sit through a long presentation, especially if they don't have to. You can't get up and leave in the middle of your CEO's long and boring presentation; users can "get up and leave" your too-lengthy LinkedIn Slideshare Content Ad -- and they will.

In a blog post, LinkedIn said GE and Constant Contact will be first out of the gate to use the new ads, and that additional lead-generation capabilities will likely be forthcoming. More information is available here.

Do you see your organization using LinkedIn's Slideshare Content Ads? As a user, what would make you click on such an ad in LinkedIn? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

Companies must build more social networking bridges to customers, suppliers and partners -- not just among internal users. Also in the new, all-digital Get (Truly) Social issue of InformationWeek: Instead of worrying about overseas hackers, worry about the sorry state of your information security defenses. (Free with registration.)

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