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Part of content marketing is transforming one item into many others, such as turning a news release into a blog post, podcast and Pinterest pin—albeit time-consuming. Haiku Deck makes it simple to turn any content into beautiful and fun presentations, sans zero design talent.

Image“Haiku Deck is an excellent way to illustrate an idea to blast out across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest,” says Adam Tratt, co-founder and CEO of the startup behind it, Seattle-based Giant Thinkwell. “It's also a fantastic way to illustrate a blog post. You can create a deck and then embed it right into a blog post. Doing this gives readers a fast and fun way to digest the main idea, and also provides the perfect summary that they can retweet, post, or pin.”

The startup began in 2010 as a social game at Startup Weekend until reinventing itself into a free iPad presentation app that launched in August 2012. “Though we started in social games, Haiku Deck was a natural progression for us,” says Tratt. “Turns out, Kevin and I both had backgrounds working at Microsoft, and a shared passion for pitching ideas and telling stories.”

Along the way to creating new social games and videos, Tratt and his co-founder were repeatedly faced with the challenge of creating presentations for enlisting partners, investors and customers. “Having to do this over and over again, we were struck by how difficult it was to create a deck that made us proud,” says Tratt, who met his co-founder at startup incubator, TechStars Seattle

That’s when the idea for Haiku Deck presented itself to the pair. “Presentation software hasn't changed very much over the years,” Tratt says. “It's been business as usual since the invention of the Internet and the mass adoption of mobile devices. We set out to reinvent presentations for how we work, communicate, and create now.” 

ImageJust as the traditional haiku poem follows a simple format of three lines and 17 syllables, Haiku Deck sticks to a basic system:

1. Each slide focuses on one idea and can have no more than two lines of text, which can be arranged in 14 ways.

2. Each slide can have one full-bleed image to illustrate the text. “As an added bonus for bloggers and content managers, Haiku Deck provides an amazing image search engine that brings back beautiful, high-resolution Creative Commons-licensed images and automatically imports that attribution along with the photo for free,” Tratt says.

“Our most viewed deck of all time (more than 250k views in a month) came from a design blogger who embedded a deck on her blog and then got traction across all of the big social channels to drive tremendous engagement from her readers,” he says. “We've got an entire collection of examples that we highlight on a Pinterest board.

Haiku Deck lets you choose from one of 16 themes that apply the same fonts and looks throughout the deck. You can upload your own photos if you don’t choose from the Creative Commons images that are recommended based on key words in your text. Once your deck is complete, you can view it on your iPad, embed it on a website or share the link. Although the app is only available for iPad, Haiku Decks can be viewed on any device. The Haiku Deck web app is currently in closed beta. “We're inviting people to join the wait list for this by visiting www.haikudeck.com and clicking ‘GET HAIKU DECK.’”

While the app itself is free, the company charges $1.99 for certain themes, and recently introduced premium photography and professional-level upgrades.

“If any of your readers create great Haiku Decks and want to gain exposure for their blog or business, we love to feature great decks in our gallery and share them as inspiration to our 750,000 users,” Tratt says. “After you embed the deck on your site, email the link to us, and we'll consider it for a featured spot in our gallery.”

Social Startups is a weekly Social Media Today column written by Shay Moser about the newest and most innovative social companies. Look for the next installment next Wednesday morning. Logos by Jesse Wells.