Most people have heard of SlideShare, but they probably don’t realize how powerful and diverse the platform is, or the important role it can play in their content marketing and digital engagement efforts. This post offers seven reasons for taking another look and considering an upgrade.

According to this infographic, SlideShare is the “quiet giant of content marketing.” I consider our SlideShare presence a vital part of the Denovati Digital Network. We’ve had a Silver Pro Account for years, and it’s definitely been a worthwhile investment.

Here are some of the reasons SlideShare could make a significant contribution to your digital presence and engagement as well…

1. It’s not just for sharing slides. Sure, it’s a great way to share samples of your work and expertise via presentation decks, but you can also use it to share documents, videos, and infographics. And as SlideShare noted in this post, it’s a great outlet for repurposing content from other channels.

2. It reduces the need for attachments. When you want to share content (e.g., a presentation deck) with someone, you can include a hyperlinked reference to the deck on SS in an email rather than attaching a large file.

3. It’s public AND private. With a Pro account you can upload files you want to share only with select groups (e.g., attendees from a private, paid-for presentation), as well as files you want to share widely. The private files have a “secret url” you can then send to folks via email or embed in a document.

4. You can do LOTS of tracking. SlideShare provides ongoing counts of the number of people who have viewed, favorited, and downloaded shared content. With a Pro account you can also gather “leads” from folks who have downloaded files. And when a presentation is trending on another platform like LinkedIn or Facebook, SlideShare will feature it on its home page. We’ve been fortunate to have that happen with our content about half a dozen times!

5. It’s a search engine itself, and is search engine friendly. This is probably the #1 reason to love SlideShare, even though few people talk about it. I certainly try to cross-promote our SlideShare content via other channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, but most of the views come from within SlideShare itself or via other searches. For example, there have been over 20,000 views of the different versions of the Social Media Sophistication Quiz over the past couple of years, the majority of which have come from searches rather than our sharing and promotion. In addition, even though our new channel is just over a year old and has only about 30 pieces of content, it is approaching 20,000 total views – that’s FAR more than we’ve gotten on our Facebook or Google+ pages, and probably even more than the content we’ve shared via Pinterest and Twitter, two platforms on which we’re much more active.

6. LinkedIn integration. In the wake of their acquisition by LinkedIn, SlideShare has continued to enhance the integration between their platform and LinkedIn, increasing the value of sharing content with one’s professional network and through groups.

7. They keep getting better. Even before SlideShare was acquired by LinkedIn, they were committed to continuously improving and enhancing their product and features. Recently, for example, they optimized the viewability of content on mobile devices, in addition to creating Apple and Android apps. They’ve also added the ability to upload content from sites like Box and Google Docs. And in their emails and on their blog, they’re promising more big changes in the coming months.

It’s worth noting that like LinkedIn, sometimes “improvement” in SlideShare means discontinuing features that some people find very valuable. In the past 6-9 months, for example, they have discontinued the Zipcast and Slidecast features, as well as Send Tracker. In the support forums, the general explanation has been that the features were underutilized, which is why they decided to stop supporting them. Perhaps if more people were aware of the less typical SlideShare features they’d be more likely to use them, and SlideShare would continue to support and develop them.

Are you an avid user/fan of SlideShare? What other recommendations for leveraging it would you add?