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Skyscraper Content: Invest Some Time In Being the Best

skyscraper content

There are seemingly endless ways to make your content stand out when it comes to content marketing. Maybe you can provide a unique perspective or voice that others in your industry don't have. Maybe your content will get attention because it's fun and entertaining.

The most basic possibility, however, is that people will link and share your content because it's the best source for a certain topic. This is where content marketers are using the term "skyscraper content." While the concept is extremely broad, it could be hugely beneficial for gaining exposure and establishing yourself as an authority.

Skyscraper Content Basics

Here's the basic process for skyscraper content: discover what's out there, do it better, and market it to the people who are currently linking to similar content. It's extremely important to remember that you're not in any way copying or simply adding to existing work. Even though you're creating something similar to content that's already out there, your work must be entirely original. Otherwise, you're risking your reputation and you've missed the point completely. With that in mind, it's good to get an idea of the common formats that most skyscraper content falls into. While your content could be as simple as a detailed blog post, some typical formats include:

  • How-to guides
  • White papers
  • eBooks
  • Beginner's guides

These types of content are advantageous because it's expected that they will be detailed and informative. It's also helpful to keep in mind that skyscraper content is often evergreen, meaning that the subject of the content is something that won't become outdated in the near future.

Of course, you must also decide what you're going to write about. Decide on a topic that's relevant to your industry and about which you're very knowledgeable. If you decide to tackle a topic that you don't know much about, be prepared to spend significant time researching. Your depth and breadth of knowledge will be a main factor in creating content that rises above your competitors. At the same time, you can't pick a topic that's too general, or you'll end up writing a full-length book that takes too much time and throws your ROI out of whack. Remember - if you're using your skyscraper content for earning links, you're likely going to be giving it away for free.

Deciding on A Topic and Finding Your Competitors

When deciding what topics your skyscraper content will cover, it helps to follow other bloggers and companies in your niche. What topics are they covering that you know you could do better with? What topics aren't they covering? What do they share on social media?

Let's say you're in the business of selling dog products. You've decided that "training your dog" is too general of a topic, but you've noticed that most resources for "housebreaking a dog" are fairly short and incomplete. Use Google to search for eBooks, detailed blog posts and how-to guides regarding housebreaking to make sure your content can tower over everything that's out there. If you're having trouble coming up with a topic, you can:

  • Search Facebook & Twitter - Following Facebook and Twitter hashtags relevant to your industry can help you find content in your niche that's already getting tons of shares.
  • Use Open Site Explorer - Moz's Open Site Explorer allows you to enter a URL and see how many other sites are linking to it. Entering another top dog care blog into OSE will allow you to see which pieces of content get the most links on their site. Then you can go and make a better version.

These tools can allow you to come up with tons of content ideas that are proven to get links when done well. Try organizing the content you find in a spreadsheet and making notes on each piece to determine how you can do better.

Making It the Best

Let's say you've decided to create an eBook related to housebreaking a dog. OSE and Topsy have shown that people link and share housebreaking information very often, but even the best sources could be improved upon. What "extra elements" is your skyscraper content going to have? Where does the existing top content fall short? For example, as of this writing, one of the top Google results for "housebreaking a dog" is an article by the famous Cesar Milan. It's only 481 words, contains one image, no links, and no headings or helpful organization of any kind. So, some things to think about when surpassing your competition include:

  • Doing comprehensive research to provide your reader with an incomparable depth of knowledge.
  • Contacting experts to include professional opinions and advice in your content (bonus: the expert might link to your finished content when it's published).
  • Adding your real-life experiences to bring a real-world element to your content.
  • Backing up your information with real data such as studies and polls.
  • Organizing your content in a clean, navigable format.
  • Adding rich media such as videos, audio, charts, graphs and other images where appropriate.
  • Designing your content in a superior fashion to your competitors.

It can be helpful to notice what you personally enjoy about some of the best content in your industry. Does it include video? Does it have a sleek, simple design? Aim for those elements in your own work.

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

Creating great content is rule number one, but it's very rare to simply publish something and sit back while the links come in naturally. Even the greatest skyscraper content will have a tough time getting noticed without some promotion. The first strategy here is to simply reach out directly to the people who've linked to similar content. Use OSE again or ahrefs to see who's linking to the content you've just improved upon. Then, simply email the webmaster and see if they'd be interested in linking to your new, excellent content. Yes, this is technically link begging, and yes, you'll probably spend a lot of time getting relatively few results, but the responses you do get could be quite valuable - especially if they come from high-ranking sites. If you try this tactic, you can use tools like BuzzStream to keep track of your email campaign.

Of course, you'll also want to share your content on social media. If you don't have many followers, consider paying to promote your content on Facebook or Twitter. You can easily choose how long you want your promotion to last and, most importantly, you can target specific groups of people who would be most likely to take interest in and share your content. You can also try broken link building, in which you look for links on high-quality sites that point to broken or abandoned articles for which your new content could be a great replacement.

All in all, this strategy is no doubt going to take a considerable amount of time. However, as with any content marketing campaign, there's bound to be an increase in conversions and traffic when you're providing the best content around.

T.J. Anderson

Posted on 23rd October, 2014 by T.J. Anderson

About T.J. Anderson

T.J. Anderson is a Chicago-based content editor and writer, as well as an SEO and marketing specialist.

View all posts by T.J. Anderson