Video killed the radio star, then SlideShare; so how to share your presentations?

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

SlideShare was founded in 2009 in India when three entrepreneurs, Amit Ranjan, Rashmi Sinha, and Jonathan Boutelle, gathered together to make a YouTube for presentations creating a global phenomenon. As of August 2020, SlideShare is now owned by Scribd, which could have implications on the millions of users uploading their presentations, infographics, videos and other documents. So, are the days of SlideShare gone?

Within only a few years, SlideShare managed to build up 38 million registered users, as people needed a tool to share their presentations and publish them online. In 2016, it had reached over 70 million visitors per day, and at one stage, it was listed as one of the top 100 most visited websites in the world. Being owned by LinkedIn, one could double up with a single login. In fact, SlideShare is so powerful that Obama used it to post his birth certificate when he was being challenged by Trump. SlideShare is not only a great way to share presentations with people all around the world, but it is also a platform for finding out information and learning from others. Even companies share their presentations on LinkedIn and SlideShare as a community publishing platform. 

The company that bought SlideShare

Photo from Scribd

Scribd, the company that acquired SlideShare, was founded by Trip Adler whose mission since 2007 has been to create a publishing powerhouse that’s got everything from magazines, to books, to audiobooks, to documents, and to podcasts. Interestingly enough, on its website, it doesn’t mention PowerPoint presentations as a discrete publishing type. With the transfer of ownership, documents can still be uploaded to SlideShare, but they have started offering to create an account on Scribd too. 

It’s free to post content to Scribd, but to subscribe to content, it’s about $11 a month. Scribd now has around a million subscribers, and for a one-time fee, you get books straight from the publishers, audiobooks, newspapers, and the like. It now seems to be the biggest game in town, but it charges money for the content, which means that if you’ve got content online, it may not be found unless someone’s paying to see it. Scribd’s vision is that they want to keep reading alive in the 21st century. However, for those people who don’t have those lofty ambitions but just want to share content either embedded on a website, published for SEO purposes, or shared with clients, this creates a slight problem. Luckily, there are other platforms available for document-sharing needs.

Alternatives to SlideShare

Photo from authorSTREAM

One is called authorSTREAM, which allows the sharing of PowerPoint, Keynote, or PDF presentations. authorSTREAM makes it easier, just like SlideShare did, to upload a document to their website, and it can also make it into a video format that could then be posted onto YouTube, which is pretty useful. Uploaded presentations can be embedded into blogs, and one can create branded channels too. It also has a tracking form, similar to being able to add a call to action at the end of a video on Vimeo. Another useful function of authorSTREAM is being able to track viewers, downloads, and viewers’ locations which is a feature that SlideShare has as well. The rankings of their posts are not that great, but it does seem to have a lot of functionality. authorSTREAM can be used for free, but there is also a Pro version that costs $4.20 per month and a Business version at $39.95 per month. These packages depend on the number of presentations to be uploaded, storage, branding, analytics, and more.

Another option is Speaker Deck. It has more traffic than authorSTREAM as well as a more professional air to its website, possibly due to the fact that it’s hosted by professional presenters and speakers. The functionality on the website also looks a little less complicated. Speaker Stack is another platform for uploading and embedding files. There’s another one called Prezi, which enables you to make animated videos and share them in real time across an online conference, sort of like a PowerPoint on steroids. Although these platforms are useful alternatives to SlideShare, none of them come close to having the traffic, the power, or the publicity that SlideShare has, which is 70 million viewers per month. 

Some believe PowerPoint presentations have been replaced by videos, podcasts, and ebooks, leading to its demise, and while SlideShare still has that functionality, the audience could soon be diminishing. Definitely, presentations are changing their nature. Thanks to technology, the desire for static slides without any voiceover is no longer sustainable, so making use of any of these platforms to upload presentations and embed audio or video is one way to get content out there, share them with others, and get noticed.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from TechCrunch

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