Chances are you already share a lot of documents using the web. Whether it’s emailing files to colleagues or even letting customers download files from your website, big documents are something you likely interact with a lot online. However, recently, some better ways to share these files have emerged, and they won’t only unclog your inbox of big attachments, but can also help you improve your website and find new customers.
What am I talking about? A variety of services that let you embed documents on web pages – like you would a YouTube video.
DocStoc and Scribd are two similar services that let you upload common types of files like Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and Adobe PDFs. SlideShare shares a lot in common with DocStoc and Scribd, except it specializes in letting you upload and share PowerPoint presentations.
The end result on all of these services is a Flash-based version of your document, embedded on a web page with a unique URL that can be shared with others. The new version of your document comes with a variety of options, like the ability to quickly email the file to other people, download the file to your desktop, or grab embed code so you can place the document on your own website.
Pump Up Your Website
Now that you can embed your documents on your company website, it frees you to upload all of the great content that is sitting on your desktop or in your mailbox to the web and share it. From case studies, to press releases, to presentations you’ve given to customers, the document sharing services enable you to offer far more content – in a far more engaging way – on your site.
Lighten Your Emails
Big file attachments can sometimes mean lights out for your computer – and more importantly, the computers of the people you send them to. That’s a big problem that these services solve, since instead of sending a big file, you’re sending a link to a web page, and that web page contains the file as a Flash embed, which, while it can take a moment to load, doesn’t drain your desktop.
Participate in the Communities
In addition to all of the utility of these services, they can also expose your business to a whole new set of potential customers by way of the community features they offer. DocStoc has a special focus on professional documents – like contracts and forms – Scribd offers groups where users can contribute documents about a given topic, and SlideShare is truly a YouTube of PowerPoints, letting you sort presentations by popularity and most recently added. So long as the documents you’re looking to share aren’t confidential (all of these services do offer private sharing as well if they are), participating in their respective communities is another way to gain an audience.
Ultimately, Scribd, Docstoc, and SlideShare are not only useful, but great ways to improve your customer communications and even find new business prospects.