Here’s how to repurpose a white paper into a slide deck, part 4 of our ongoing series.
See links at the bottom of this post to the other articles in this series.
For example, you can use a slide deck to present the highlights of the topic in an online webinar or in-house presentation. Then you can offer a white paper to those who want more details.
Consider the key differences between these two types of content, as shown in the following table.
|White paper||Slide deck|
|Format||Mainly text, some graphics||Graphics + voice|
|Scope||Deep detail||Highlights only|
|Medium||Screen or paper||Screen only|
|Viewed||By one person alone||Mainly by groups|
Our sample slides
In this case, the client didn’t actually repurpose the white paper to use as a presentation.
Instead, we created a few sample slides to show how this white paper could be repurposed as a slide deck.
To see those slides as a PPT file, click the thumbnails below.
Here are a few more details about each slide.
Slide 1: Alarming factoid
The white paper includes the disturbing factoid that sleep deprivation costs companies an average of $3,200 per employee per year.
Imagine if you’ve got 10,000 employees. That adds up! So this slide highlights this one alarming fact.
Slide 2: Surprising assertion
The white paper recommends a new approach to helping people get a good night’s sleep: cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia, CBTi for short.
And we make a surprising claim that it’s proven more effective than sleeping pills. This claim is backed up by WHO and medical authorities in U.S. and the UK.
There’s a lot of small text on this slide, but two-thirds of that is simply the names of three associations cited as sources.
For any effective B2B content, you need to have credible sources lined up.
And notice how the slide is still dominated by the graphic. A presenter can do talk to this slide while showing this graphic to help the main point sink into the minds of the audience.
Slide 3: Screenshot
Here’s a screenshot of the mobile app and the download page from the client’s company.
Showing the recommended solution is often a good idea, especially for somewhat intangible products like apps or online services.
There’s a ton of text on this webpage, but you don’t expect your audience to actually read it. The heading at the top tells the whole story in six words.
How many slides do you need?
To cover the highlights of a typical white paper, 12 to 16 slides is enough. Here are some pointers on how to manage this for each main flavor of white paper.
That means you can divide your slides into three main sections:
- The problem
- The traditional solutions, and why they don’t work
- The new recommended solution
About a dozen slides should be enough for this flavor.
Let’s consider a numbered list with five points. Going by this formula, you will need:
- 1 or 2 slides at the start
- 2 x 5 slides for the numbered points
- 1 or 2 slides at the end
That totals 12 to 14 slides in all, so the estimate holds.
That means you need at least one slide for each key feature, plus one more for the benefits of that feature. For more complex descriptions, this could increase to two for each feature plus one for the benefits (3 in all).
And you’ll want a couple slides at the start for the introduction, plus a couple more at the end for the conclusions and call to action.
Let’s consider a backgrounder with four key features and benefits. Going by the formula above, you need:
- 2 at the start
- 2 x 4 for each feature and its benefits
- 2 at the end
That totals up to a dozen slides in all. For a longer presentation, simply add more slides on each feature.
A dozen slides should do it
You can see that for any flavor, about a dozen slides can be enough.
Of course, if you plan to deliver a 30-minute webinar, you may not want to sit on each slide for 7 minutes. In this case, you can add interest by building some slides point by point or splitting the longer slides in two.
Whatever you do, don’t put your audience to sleep by making them sit through 10 slides on the grand history and stirring achievements and customer service philosophy of your company. Boooooring!
Use visuals, not text
You’ve already got a narrative document, the white paper. For a slide deck, you really want to use visuals and keep the text to a minimum.
Not sure where to find good visuals?
If a viewer wants more information, have the white paper available as a download they can get to read afterwards.
The last thing you want is so much text crammed onto the slides that your audience starts to read. You don’t want them to read; you want them to listen to your presenter!
How to promote your slide deck
There’s loads of places where you can use a B2B slide deck: on the company’s own website, during presentations, on SlideShare and similar sites.
For those who haven’t thought about how to publicize an upcoming white paper, a slide deck is an easy and excellent promotional tool.
Have you ever repurposed a white paper into a slide deck? Did you learn any tips from that exercise? Please leave your comment below.