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How a Webinar Presentation Generated 10,000 @SlideShare Views in 1 Week

October 12, 2013


Photo credit: Flickr user sylvain kalache via photopin cc

Introduction

At DNN, we provide several webinars per month. Recently, we created a profile on SlideShare. We now publish the presentation from each webinar on our SlideShare account. SlideShare was working out quite well for us – we could tap into their “60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews” (source: SlideShare).

Our webinar presentations were receiving anywhere from 200 to 900 views. And then it happened. We did a webinar on content marketing and posted the presentation to SlideShare. Within 1 week, the SlideShare received 10,000 views!

Analytics - SlideShare PRO

Image: a chart available in SlideShare PRO Analytics.

Continue reading this post to find out how we generated 10,000 SlideShare views and pick up a few tips on how you can optimize the views of your own SlideShares.

Getting 10,000 SlideShare Views: The Logistics

1) Publish.

Upload Presentations via SlideShare

In the past, the number one question we received on webinars was, “will the slides be available?” With SlideShare, we answer that question before it gets asked. During the early part of the webinar, we’ll promote our SlideShare channel (e.g. list the URL on a slide).

We’ll let viewers know that after the webinar, they can visit our SlideShare profile to view (and download) the slides. I like to upload the webinar presentation to SlideShare an hour (or less) after the webinar is over.

We have less than 20 followers on SlideShare. This means that once we publish, we’ll receive a modest amount of views on SlideShare. As we receive more followers, we’ll benefit from more views upon publishing. But for now, we rely on other “channels” for promotion. So for now, this step was simply the beginning of the process.

2) Promote on social channels.

I’ll promote our SlideShare to our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles. In addition, I’ll publish it to our LinkedIn Company Page. On Twitter, I’ll look to see who tweeted (during the webinar) and send them “at replies” to let them know the slides are available. Posting to our Facebook page was a key step in this process – I’ll cover that later in this post.

3) Write a blog post related to the webinar.

I don’t find a literal summary of the webinar particularly useful. After all, you could flip through the slide deck or view the webinar on-demand. Instead, what I like to do is use the webinar as an opportunity to create original content. So with the slides as a “backdrop,” I author a related blog post.

I embed the SlideShare presentation within all webinar-related blog posts. And here’s where a significant “multiplier” took effect: shortly after publication on the DNN blog, the post was syndicated at Social Media Today.

An Aside: Embeds + Syndication = a Big Winner

So the secret’s out: we achieved 10,000 SlideShare views primarily via embedding the presentation and then syndicating it to a site (Social Media Today) with wide reach. Of all SlideShare views, nearly 75% came from “embeds” and over 90% of the embedded views came from Social Media Today. Page views on the Social Media Today article received a nice boost from the nearly 2,000 social shares received (as noted by summing the counts listed on the article page).

I happen to value embedded views a bit less – on the SlideShare site, the visitor arrived specifically to view your presentation. With embedded views, visitors are there to read your post and some may not see the SlideShare at all. That being said, an embedded view is better than none at all.

4) Receive endorsements.

While easier said than done, endorsements help to boost views. In our case, we received two key endorsements. The first arose from sharing the SlideShare to our 20,000+ fans on Facebook. Based on the traffic that our Facebook fans sent to our SlideShare, we were added to the “Hot on Facebook” section of the SlideShare homepage.

Next, the editors of SlideShare reviewed it and decided to list the presentation in the “Featured” section of their homepage. “Featured” has a prominent location on the SlideShare homepage, directly beneath “Top Presentations of the Day.” We made sure to share this exciting news via our social channels. Using social proof (no pun intended) helped to drive further awareness (and views) of our SlideShare:


How Attention Begets More Attention

Attention on the web can benefit from the snowball effect. The key is to get the snowball large enough so that it’ll roll. And once you find a hill that’s steep and long, you set it in motion. The key is getting “over the hump.” Once you’re there, the snowball starts to roll and there’s no stopping it after that.

1) SlideShare Likes.

SlideShare Like in LinkedIn Newsfeed

Image: a SlideShare “Like” as seen in the LinkedIn Newsfeed.

As your SlideShare receives more views, it’ll pick up a corresponding number of Likes. Once users “Like” my SlideShare, that action will appear in the Newsfeed of other SlideShare users following them. In addition, users who connect their SlideShare account to their LinkedIn account will have the “Like” appear on their LinkedIn profile. This, in turn, will appear in the Newsfeed of their LinkedIn Connections.

2) Shares on SlideShare.

Similarly, social shares from your SlideShare (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest) promote your presentation to an whole new audience. If an influential Twitter user tweeted your SlideShare to her 10,000 followers, your presentation could receive 100 instantaneous views.

3) We’re all drawn to popular items.

I think it’s human nature to be drawn to popular items. When we pass a busy restaurant, we’re apt to wait in line for 1 hour to get a table. When we pass a restaurant with no tables occupied, we’re afraid to become their only customer.

When I scan the “Featured” presentations on the SlideShare homepage, my eyes are naturally drawn to those with the most views. Sure, the title is important, but if a presentation has 10,000 views, that signals an endorsement of sorts (from others).

How to Hit The Mark on SlideShare


Photo credit: Flickr user modenadude via photopin cc

I try to kill two birds with one stone when I assemble a webinar presentation: as I create each slide, I try to optimize it for SlideShare at the same time. I could always go back (after the webinar) and re-work the deck for SlideShare, but I’ve come to realize that optimizing the deck for SlideShare also creates a more effective webinar.

1) Pick a hot topic.

I subscribe to 50+ sites (via feedly) on marketing, social media, SEO and more. Of late, it’s challenging to get through a feedly session without 10+ posts with “content marketing” in the title. So the timing was good for us: a webinar and slide deck on content marketing was sure to get some attention.

2) Use decent visuals.

If you have a designer available, take advantage of that. If not, you can assemble graphics and visuals on your own, but pay attention to design. You may have the most useful content in the world, but poor visual design can compromise both credibility and attention.

3) Optimize for “productive scanning.”

People don’t read blogs, they scan blogs. If you’ve gotten this far in this post, I bet you’ve scanned this post’s headlines, rather than reading each and every word (thank you very much, if I’m wrong about this).

SlideShare takes blog reading to an even skimmier level: visitors can flip through the deck quickly and find key points they can take away. So make your SlideShares easily scannable and use each slide as an opportunity to deliver actionable advice. The more wisdom you can impart, the higher likelihood of gaining a Share or Like.

4) Include useful hyperlinks.

When I do research for a webinar, I’ll often find useful articles that inform my presentation. I like to include links to those articles, both to give credit (to the source) and provide viewers with a place to receive more detailed information. When you upload your presentation to SlideShare, confirm that all of the PowerPoint hyperlinks are functional within your SlideShare.

Conclusion

Incorporate SlideShare into your content marketing mix! Use it to widen the reach of your content. There’s 60 million monthly visitors out there: make it easy for them to find you via compelling content.

In closing, I’ll note that we upgraded to SlideShare PRO. Because of all of the views we were getting, we wanted to use the lead capture feature of PRO to invite viewers to contact us for more information on our products (review SlideShare’s premium plans).

And Here’s the SlideShare.

In order to gain even more views of our SlideShare, I’m embedding it below for your viewing pleasure.

Note: originally published on the DNN Software blog.

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Why B2B Webinars Stink And How To Change Them

April 30, 2011

Pictured: Audience members in a typical B2B Webinar.

Introduction

We all attended lectures in college that seemed to go on for hours without end. The professor was dry and not engaging.  Today’s B2B webinars are similar to college lectures – they’re long, they’re often dry and they do not invite attendees to participate (aside from those 10 minutes of Q&A at the very end). In today’s world of social engagement, B2B webinars should be more Twitter chat than college lecture.

The Need for Change

Too many of today’s B2B webinars amount to a product pitch.  If you’re fortunate enough to have 10% of your audience be “late stage” leads (for your product offering), then a product pitch may be effective, if it delivers the information needed to make a final decision.

What about the other 90%, however?  They range from early stage to mid-stage, so they’re not ready for a product pitch. Instead, they probably have some questions that your presenter(s) could answer. So instead of lecturing to them, invite them to join you in a conversation.

How to Change: Engage Your Audience Ahead of Time

I don’t know why some webinar presenters guard their presentation like it contains the secret location of The Fountain of Youth. These days, transparency rules, so why not show your potential audience what you plan to talk about? You’ll gain valuable feedback to ensure that your message delivers on what your audience wants.

So post the preso on the web.  Allow anyone to comment on each slide.  Then, allow users who have registered for the webinar (perhaps you’ll need to assign them a login/password) the ability to edit your slide a la wiki (i.e. so that changes can be tracked and backed out). Now, you’re really onto something: a presentation tuned to what your audience wants. And, by engaging your audience beforehand, you increase the chances that they’ll attend the webinar.

How to Change: Conversations, Not Presentations

Your webinar viewers could be twiddling their thumbs or typing away on their keyboards (back to you). The choice is your’s, which would you prefer? Webinars should evolve to conversations, not presentations.  Similarly, the slide deck should evolve, too.  The new slide deck doesn’t include deep information about your products.  Instead, it lists “topics for discussion,” that cover issues relevant to your prospects. If you’ve engaged with your audience beforehand, then you already know what topics they’d like you to cover.

Of course, presenters should still have the opportunity to tell their story, but the story should enable the conversation and not define it. So tell a short story, have it seed the discussion and then invite your viewers to join the conversation.  Do this by embedding chat rooms, tweet streams and other relevant social networks directly into the webinar console. Your viewers will thank you – and, they’ll learn a lot from the other viewers, too.

The Benefits of Change

  1. Pre-webinar engagement can lead to higher registration and attendance numbers.
  2. Your viewers leave happier.
  3. You generate engaged prospects, not a generic list of leads.
  4. By engaging with your prospects, you’re able to better qualify them!
  5. By starting a conversation, you enable your sales team to continue that conversation.

Demand Generation Conference

I’ll be speaking at DemandCon in San Francisco on May 20, 2011, on the topic of demand generation and virtual events. In my session, I hope to avoid the same sins that I’ve outlined in this posting.


FOCUS Best Practices Report: Exhibiting at Virtual Trade Shows

December 28, 2010

Introduction

FOCUS.com has published a Best Practices Report, “9 Best Practices for Exhibiting at a Virtual Trade Show“.

The report features insights and tips from Roger Courville (1080 Group), Dave Lutz (Velvet Chainsaw Consulting), Shannon Ryan (FOCUS), Cece Salomon-Lee (PR Meets Marketing), Tom Wieser (CGS VirtualEvents365) and myself. We’re all FOCUS Experts and contribute to virtual events (and other) topics on FOCUS.com.

Download The Report

You can download the report here:

http://www.focus.com/research/research-briefings/sales/best-practices-exhibiting-virtual-trade-show/

A Related Webinar

I did a related webinar with FOCUS titled “From Fad to ROI: How Smart Marketers Succeed with Virtual Trade Shows”.  You can view the on-demand webinar (or the associated slides) by following the links here:

https://allvirtual.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/live-webcast-how-smart-marketers-succeed-with-virtual-trade-shows/

Join the Discussion

The report was generated from a question posted to FOCUS.com – feel free to join the discussion by adding your own thoughts about exhibiting at virtual trade shows:

http://www.focus.com/questions/marketing/virtual-trade-show-best-practices-best-practices-exhibiting/


What Virtual Events Can Learn From Groupon, Quora and FarmVille

December 18, 2010

Introduction

Successful web sites provide a great opportunity: the chance to study what makes them successful and apply those learnings to your own websites or applications.  In 2010, three of the “most talked about” web sites were Groupon, Quora and FarmVille (though FarmVille is more a discrete app, rather than a web site).  Let’s consider how some of their concepts can be applied to virtual event experiences.

Groupon


Groupon is said to be in the local advertising space, but they’re really much more than that.  They’ve hit the mark with a group buying phenomenon (using bulk purchasing to drive down prices) combined with creative and entertaining email copy that keeps subscribers eager to receive the next day’s email.

Groupon, which serves local businesses, segments their offering by geography.  So I might subscribe via San Jose, CA and receive offers from merchants who are near me.  But the Groupon model could certainly apply to national or even global brands.

Group Viewing at Virtual Trade Shows

Now, let’s consider a common dynamic at virtual trade shows.  Exhibitors (sponsors) would like to get their message across to attendees, while attendees are resistant to hearing unsolicited product pitches.

How can you “arbitrate” this situation?  Consider Groupon, where the “daily deal” only registers when a certain number of users agree to purchase the item(s).  Here’s how it might work with sponsor presentations (webinars) at a virtual trade show:

  1. Five sponsors list their webinar title in the trade show Auditorium
  2. Each sponsor is “on alert”, ready to begin broadcasting their live presentation
  3. No presentation begins until it receives 50 (or more) viewers
  4. The presentation continues, only if it can continually sustain 35 simultaneous viewers – if it drops below 35 viewers for more than 5 minutes, the presentation closes

Benefits

  1. Puts portions of the presentation agenda in the hands of attendees
  2. Forces sponsors to present on relevant topics
  3. Forces sponsors to “deliver what they sold” with regard to the presentation
  4. Ups the overall quality of sponsor presentations, as sponsors need to both “sell” the topic and sustain the audience

Quora

Quora is “a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.”  Question and Answer (Q&A) services have been around for some time. Quora has picked up steam in 2010 due to the quality of the members participating (e.g. some of the leading thinkers on the web – and in Silicon Valley).

In virtual events, experts and leading thinkers in a particular industry have gathered online.  They can listen to featured experts (e.g. the presenters), but the event doesn’t fully extract and share the collective knowledge of those assembled. If done right, a Q&A service layered on top of a virtual event can be quite useful.

In fact, let’s consider a related Q&A service, Aardvark, which is now part of Google.  With Aardvark, “you email or instant-message your question to Aardvark, it figures out around half a dozen people you know who might have a good answer, then emails or IMs them for a response and sends what they say back to you.” (source: VentureBeat article).

A virtual event platform could implement a “Quora meets Aardvark” model, whereby questions are distributed to online attendees – and answers are fed back in semi-real-time.  Questions (and their answers) could be shared not only with the requester – but, all attendees, based on their selection of particular topics.

FarmVille

On the surface, FarmVille is about planting your virtual crops and tending to your virtual farm.  But below the surface, its “power” is in the psychological reward of achieving success in something you take pride in.  It’s the same dynamic that fuels entrepreneurs (who take pride in their businesses) and Twitter power users (who take pride in their following).

As virtual events shift from “point in time” live events to “365 day communities”, the challenge becomes how to sustain an ongoing and active community – who will visit the environment on days where absolutely nothing is scheduled.  It’s the same challenge Zynga had – how do you incent farmers to tend to their virtual farm each day?

Virtual Farm Meets Virtual Community

For virtual communities, there needs to be a parallel to that virtual farm – an abstraction that allows members to feel psychological reward when they’ve done something meaningful.  Ideas include:

  1. Elevated  member profiles. Turn the “vanilla” user profile of today into the parallel of the virtual farm
  2. “Pimp my space”. Exhibitors get to build booths – now, allow attendees the freedom to create their own spaces and receive ratings on them
  3. Leverage “status badges” on the profiles – but ensure that demand consistently outstrips supply
  4. “Rate the ratings” – allow members to rate the worthiness of a rating (a la Amazon.com, and “Was this review helpful to you?”) – top rated members receive elevated status in the community
  5. Prominent Leaderboards related to particular activities, games, etc. – these can be a tremendous draw, as users continually return to check on their position on the board

Conclusion

Groupon, Quora and FarmVille have taught us some valuable lessons.  The rising demand for virtual events tells us something as well.  Aardvark may have hit upon the right model – in which they combined social collaboration with a real-time (or semi-real-time) component.  Perhaps Grouopon and the like have something to “learn” from virtual as well.


With Lead Generation and Virtual Events, It’s a Journey, Not a Project

October 23, 2010

Introduction

Virtual Events can be highly effective in generating leads to fuel your sales pipeline.  Here’s a 5-step process that I call the “Virtual Event Lead Generation Virtuous Cycle“:

  1. Generate
  2. Engage & Qualify
  3. Score
  4. Re-Engage
  5. Assess

Step #2 (“Engage & Qualify”) is quite unique for virtual events, compared to other online lead generation activities.  Virtual events allow you to generate leads (Step #1) and engage and qualify them on the spot.

With a white paper download or an on-demand webinar, the engagement and qualification occurs after the prospect has requested your content.  Note that I said “requested” – with a white paper download, you don’t even know if the prospect read the paper.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

As the diagram above illustrates, effective use of virtual events for lead generation is done in a circle (or cycle), where you begin the next event with learnings from your prior event.

By knowing what worked and what didn’t work from your last event, you fine tune and optimize your strategies and tactics and become more effective in generating and engaging leads with each event.  So think of virtual event lead generation as an ongoing journey and not a discrete project.

To help on your journey, here are some useful resources that I’ve come across.

Generating Leads (Step #1)

  1. From BetterCloser.com, “Sales is Personal, Why Isn’t Your Lead Generation?”
  2. An eBook from Brian Carroll, “Eight CRITICAL Success Factors for Lead Generation
  3. From BtoB Online, “2010 Lead Generation Guide
  4. An interview with The Funnelholic, which includes insights on lead generation with virtual events.

Lead Scoring (Step #3)

  1. From Brian Carroll, “Lead scoring thoughts to share

Lead Re-Engagement (Step #4)

More commonly referred to as Lead Follow-Up, also includes Lead Nurturing

  1. From Marketo,  “Perfect Timing – When to Call a Prospect
  2. From LeadSloth, “What Lead Nurturing Content to Send When?”

Lead Assessment (Step #5)

A subset of Lead Management

  1. From The Funnelholic, “Lead Management: 67 tips from the biggest experts in the field

Lead Generation and Virtual Events – A Book

I’ll soon be publishing a book that provides related advice on generating sales leads with virtual events.  For further information on lead generation and virtual events, “Like” the book’s Facebook page.  Updates on the book’s availability will be posted here.  Best of luck on your own journey!

Eight CRITICAL Success Factors for Lead Generation


Webinar Evolution

October 6, 2010

Introduction

Do you attend webinars?  If so, what is your satisfaction level with the experience?

Webinar Q&A

I was attending a highly captivating webinar last week.  The speaker had delivered a great, crisp presentation and was doing a great job answering questions during the Q&A period.  While viewing the webinar, I tweeted the following:

Needed in webinars: tool for producer to dynamically insert Q&A topic on screen – better than seeing static closing-slide image

When presenters complete their presentation and transition to Q&A, the viewer is left with a closing slide.  That slide remains unchanged for the duration of the Q&A session.  Couldn’t the moderator play a role here by generating some updates that appear in the webinar player, adding some context to the presenter’s answer?

That’s one of many ways that the webinar experience can evolve.  About a year ago, in fact, I wrote a posting about applying Web 2.0 features to webinars.  Here’s a link to that posting:

https://allvirtual.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/from-web-2-0-to-webinar-2-0/

Let us know your thoughts – how can webinars evolve?


Virtual Event Evolution

June 28, 2010

In a prior blog posting, I promoted a wiki that I created that allows us to collaborate on the evolution of virtual event platforms.  The wiki received some very thoughtful contributions.

Miguel Arias (IMASTE) added several insights via the wiki. In the paragraph “Make it easier to experience” he writes:

Along with a simplification of interfaces and the use of usability and navigation conventions, many customers and users seem to be demanding more immersive environments. While presenting a brand and hosting an interactive experience in a convention centre, it seems an interesting field to add some real-time rendered environments using engines like papervision3D or Unity3D. This said, it is unlikely that avatar based real time rendered environments will make it a a mainstream audience. Mainly considering plugin or applets downloads, system performance and learning curve barriers.

In the paragraph “Make it easier to experience” he writes:

The most relevant virtual event platforms will introduce or already have Facebook connect and twitter connect, and they will need to move to even wider standards like OpenID. On the other hand, deskopt or mobile widgets to control your stand usage, statistics and reporting will be a must. Lastly, the platforms will have extense APIs to manage their integration with various social networks, corporate databases, physical event managing software, etc.

Miguel then added a new paragraph:

Make the platform more adaptable for different customer needs and different usage

There are so many different kind of virtual events: trade shows, conferences, job fairs, corporate events, webinars, congresses… that vendors should decide in which market niche they are going to play. We will see generic platforms and other vendors delivering a tailored solution for one or many of the previous choices. It will become more and more complex to provide physical event managers with the features they need to handle their hybrid events at the same time as the platform is able to cope with the extensive data handling of the virtual job fair, or the networking tools of a professional tradeshow.

Steve Gogolak  (Cramer) also added several insights via the wiki. In the paragraph “Make it easier to access” he writes:

For public events, ease of registration is a must. Using open methods for registering and/or connecting social networks have three-fold benefits:

  1. Registration is faster because basic information can be provided by services like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Shorter registration forms increase completion, period.
  2. Intelligence gathered by the platform about the user’s existing social graph can enhance the experience within the event by automatically creating connections with other attendees based on that user’s connection outside the platform. This will lead to more networking and awareness of actual people within the environment.
  3. Users opting into connections at the point of registration allows platforms to create publishable actions that can be spit out to twitter and facebook news feeds that can increase viral awareness of the event. Marketing automation at its best.

In the paragraph “Make the experience available on more devices” he writes:

One of the key areas where mobile can play a huge role is the “reminder” needs that come from tons of scheduled activities within virtual events. If attendees have the ability to build out a personalized agenda before the event and opt-in to either SMS reminders or download some kind of app that will push notifications at them throughout the day, it would be much easier to create a flexible agenda. Currently we’re cramming so much into the shortest amount of time because we’re afraid of losing people. If only we had better planning and reminding tools, driven by devices that never leave our pocket!

In the paragraph “Make the platform more adaptable for different customer needs and different usage” that Miguel created, Steve writes:

Take a hint from Apple’s “face time”. Video chat will, without a doubt, increase the effectiveness of networking. It is the one key element that can be introduced that will get critics to come around to the idea that networking in an online environment can be as effective as the cocktail hour of a physical event.

To view the fruits of our collaboration, you can read the wiki page here:

http://allvirtual.pbworks.com/How-Vendors-Should-Evolve-Their-Virtual-Event-Platforms

By default, you’ll be taken to the “VIEW” tab – to contribute, click on the “EDIT” tab. We’d love to hear (read) your thoughts!

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