What is skyscraper content

Skyscraper Content Technique: How to do it the Right Way

If you’re walking in content marketing and SEO circles for a while now, you likely heard about a number of ways and techniques to get your content in front of your audience. You probably even used a few of these yourself. Some of these techniques work, some don’t, some are white hat, others black hat, some make sense, some don’t, but the bottom line is that choosing a technique is no easy task. Before you use one of these, you’ll need to know how it works and if it will even works for your market or niche.

One technique that’s become very popular in the last year or two is called “skyscraper content”. And if nothing, this technique is not leaving anyone completely unbiased. Some, like Brian Dean of Backlinko, are praising it, while others like Mark Walker from Content Marketing Institute, are not such big fans of this technique.

So, with the field divided, which side is right, you ask? Well, the best way to know is to know if the skyscraper content technique is the right content strategy for your website is to take a closer look and see what it offers.

What is Skyscraper Content?

Skyscraper content infographic

So what is the skyscraper content technique? There are four steps to this technique:

  1. Find content that’s already popular and successful. For instance, you can look at Buzzsumo to see which articles on the web got shared the most in the last six months or just look at the top search results on Google.
  2. Take a look at who shared on linked to the post. That’s who you’ll be aiming for.
  3. Create something better than the original. Because what’ the point of creating something completely same as the original?
  4. Let those that have already linked to or shared the original know that you have something even “better”. Then,  ask them to extend you the same courtesy.

Sounds pretty straightforward and in line with what most content marketing experts will tell you – create quality content. All you have to do is write a better post than the other guy and reach out to the right people to spread the word about it.

But how can you find who to reach out to? That’s the key to this technique perhaps. For this, you’ll need someone who is already in your niche (maybe even have a website or blog of his own) and has already linked to a post covering a similar topic. Once you’ve found them, you just send them an email, informing them that you’ve created a similar post, but one that is more thorough than the original and ask them to give you a mention.

Why You Might be Doing it Wrong?

So what’s the problem with skyscraper content? Why it works for some and not for others? There are two reasons why this technique might not work for you:

  1. Your content is not original enough.
  2. You rely too much on length and word count.

In the first case, a lot of content marketers think that’s it’s enough to simply find someone else’s idea and rehash them. But readers don’t want to see more of the same, they want something better and unique. That’s what a lot of bloggers forget. The technique isn’t about copying others. Even if you didn’t copy/pasted the exact words, if the message and the idea is the same, it’s still a copy in some way.

On the other hand, a lot of writers fall into the trap thinking that longer equals better. While content length can help your rankings, more doesn’t always mean better here. It’s not enough to just add more words or make a top 12 list instead of top 10. Despite what some tell you, it’s okay to write content that’s shorter than 2,000 words. It all depends on your topic and niche. If you can convey your message in 300 words, go for it. At least you’ll avoid all the unnecessary fluff.

If you want the skyscraper content technique to truly work for you, you’ll need to offer the reader something that he didn’t find in the “original”. This can be a different opinion, a more up to date article, different data, being more thorough or something else. In the end, you don’t want a visitor to look at your content and think “hey, didn’t I already read that one?”. Because, if they do think like that, they’re not going to talk about your post and your little exercises will be in vain.

Conclusion

Just like listicles or any other technique before it, skyscraper content is in danger of becoming overused and to completely lose what made it the popular kid in the school. Once everybody starts wearing the same jacket, what’s the point. At least change the color and don’t be a complete copycat.

What are your thoughts about skyscraper content? Have you tried it before? Did it work or not? Let me know why it did or didn’t in the comments below. Also, if you can, take the time to share this post.

Vladimir Covic
covic.v1ad@gmail.com
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