OK, if you don’t know what YouTube or Digg are, I guess that description won’t help you much. So here’s a more specific description:
Scribd is a place where you can load online any written document you have. All those spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations or Word documents that you want to share with the world, you can load them at Scribd.
Readers then find them through keyword tags and other means, and can download them in multiple formats. For instance, if you upload something as a Microsoft Word document, readers can download it as a Word document, PDF document, text-only format
or even an MP3 file (software automatically turns your written document into an audio version).
Scribd can be a useful way to spread content that you use to promote your business, such as white papers, articles, self-quizzes — you name it. I suggest you look through your computer files to see if you have some content gathering virtual cobwebs that you can load over at Scribd. Or create some content specifically for Scribd. Think of it as a free marketing platform.
You may recall the ChangeThis site that was hot a few years ago, where you could upload PDF documents, called “Manifestos,” once they were vetted (you still can today). Scribd is a 2007 version of ChangeThis, offering an open platform, more flexibility, and more social media features making it easier to distribute your document and get some “viral” pickup.
Plus, with Scribd, readers can vote on your document as to whether they liked it. And there are all sorts of statistics available about your document (such as how your word length compares with other documents in Scribd) that you might find helpful.
Readers can spread your document by embedding the reader in blog posts or on websites. Check out this example: Laurel Delaney of GlobeTrade loaded her white paper about small businesses going global over at Scribd. I have embedded it in my post:
As with all such sites where content is loaded online by users, you may also need to take a defensive posture. For instance, bootleg copies of books have been found over at Scribd. So if you have content that is paid-only, or available only after going through a lead-capturing registration process, you might want to check to see that yours has not been improperly uploaded. Then monitor Scribd from time to time. Scribd offers a mechanism to report copyright violations so that offending documents can be taken down.