Even if you’re a fan of SlideShare, it might surprise you to learn that the service has been around since its inception in 2006. The presentation-sharing platform (owned by LinkedIn) announced last week that it’s making many of its Pro level features free.  The change took effect on August 20, 2014.

While that’s obviously great news for SlideShare power users, I feel that the majority of marketers take content on SlideShare for granted when it comes to research and content strategy. Let’s examine the hidden potential in this budding social media platform.

5 Benefits of utilizing SlideShare for content strategy:

  1. Every topic and niche imaginable is available in one format or another to better serve the 16 million registered users and 58 million unique visitors a month
  2. Content strategy creation and research time spent getting up to speed on a particular subject or niche can be drastically reduced by searching for particular topics and sorting by relevance, upload date, and file type
  3. The business-to-business (B2B) focus allows for highly professional and shareable content including: presentations, infographics, videos, PDF, webinars and other documents
  4. High-level intellectual material written by industry leaders is readily available — what other platform can boast about that (besides maybe their parent company LinkedIn)
  5. Depending on the presentation, you can actually download the content for free or in exchange for an email address (if you’re a registered user)

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SlideShare isn’t without a few downsides as well so it’s only fair to highlight of few areas where the service could improve.

Areas of improvement for SlideShare:

  1. Lots of older content also means plenty of outdated content. Certain material and subjects can be considered evergreen content and are well suited to stand the test of time, but others (Facebook marketing for example) are marked irrelevant quickly.
  2. There’s no way to preview presentations which makes for lots of extraneous clicking on amateur presentations or material that promises certain things, but doesn’t always deliver the goods. Numerous times these presentations were meant for an audience at a conference and certain elements aren’t always shared in detail via the slides in a presentation.
  3. SlideShare isn’t genuinely viewed as a social media platform and may even be unknown throughout numerous small business circles and communities. LinkedIn has increasingly put attention and focus on the social aspect of the site by allowing members to post their best SlideShare materials at the top of their LinkedIn profile pages. A little more refinement and promotion will go a long way to getting more marketers to hop on the SlideShare bandwagon.

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Do you currently use SlideShare to research topics or help create content strategies for your business? I recommend you take a look through the site and see for yourself if the platform is a good fit for your particular industry.

At the very least, it’s a great way to ensure you stay current with the latest developments in your field!