Ready to make your first slideshow?

I was recently asked this question on Facebook:  “Do you have any experience with Keynote or Slideshark? I’m looking at both of them to learn how to do a powerpoint presentation on an ipad. I’ve never created one. What do you use? Thanks Susan.”

What’s the best presentation software platform for newbies?

Well, that really depends on what type of presentation or slideshow you plan to create and what goal you want to accomplish.  In fact, establishing your goal is the first important step of any content creation, followed by determining the verbal message you want to convey and choosing who is your target audience.

Based on clarifying your answers to these 3 decisions, then it is possible to determine which software program and/or delivery platform will best serve your goals.

For the purpose of narrowing down this discussion, let’s say that the purpose of your online slideshow will be to generate leads for your coaching or consulting business.  After watching your slideshow, you want the viewers to click on a link to be taken to an optin page, also known as a squeeze page, where they’ll enter their name and email address and download a free report or e-book.

1) Clarifying the message for your presentation, and  2) Identifying your target audience —  Those are both topics for somewhat lengthy discussion and outside the scope of this blog post.

But once you have completed those preparation steps, then you can  3) Consider what is the best medium and the best format to use to get your message in front of your ideal clients.

To get an understanding of this, compare one of my slideshows (below) with the video version (above) that includes recorded verbal narration.

In this hypothetical situation, you want to create a web-based slideshow to generate leads for a service delivery business.  Here are some issues to help you choose a medium and format:

  1. How well do your prospects understand the service you provide?  Will you need to give a lot of verbal explanation about what you do?
  2. Will you be talking about abstract concepts that would be supported with drawings or other pictorial illustrations?
  3. Do you need to display statistical data to persuade your audience about your message and about their need for your services?
  4. Will you share a strong emotional message to connect with your audience?  In that case, you may want to include music and lots of photos.
  5. Can you explain your message with short, easy-to-read sentences on screen or will you need to record audio narration?

The above questions are just related to the creation of your content and whether it will be a slideshow or a video or a “live” webinar … or even some other form like a written article.

If you have narrowed down your content decision to a presentation or slideshow, then there are a number of software platforms you could use.

PowerPoint and Keynote are the 2 traditional programs for creating slide presentations.  They have both been used badly by huge numbers of presenters!  But both programs have the functionality needed to create clear, engaging presentations with well-designed visuals — in the hands of an experienced and creative writer/developer/designer.  Free and/or cheaper versions of slide software include Open Office and Google’s Presently.

Alternative programs, like HaikuDeck and Prezi, offer some advantages but they don’t really solve the problems of poorly designed presentations.  That solution is dependent on the presenter having a clear and well-structured message and well chosen visual images.  Those are the key elements needed regardless of what software program you decide to use.

And then there are slide distribution platforms like,, and  as well as “sales support” or content marketing platforms, such as Slideshark and Brainshark, that offer additional functionality to help you share your presentation with an online audience.

There is a lot to take into consideration, but I suggest getting started as simply as possible.  Look into free or inexpensive software choices first.  You can always upgrade later if you decide to do lots of slideshows.

If you already have Keynote or PowerPoint on your computer, that’s an easy choice.  Or try HaikuDeck which is a free iPad app (now also available as a web-based app for any computer) and pretty simple to learn.

Try to keep the software issues minimal so you can really focus your time and energy of developing your message and your visual images  …   and get guidance from an expert who can help you formulate a good presentation with a clear message, as well as help you navigate all the software/platform choices.


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