You just published a blog post on your website, it was hard work.
It took research, planning and a lot of eye strain, and as you hit the publish button. You feel a certain weight lift off your chest.
This is it you think. This content is just too good to be denied.
Then you wait a couple of hours. No comments. No shares.
You’re a bit disappointed, but then you think a few hours is probably too little time.
You wait a day, three days, then a week. Still nothing.
You’re angry, disappointed and not for the first time you think of shutting down your blog for good. Hang the old blogging hat and get back to reality. Blogging is worthless you say.
If you’ve ever felt this way, and you probably have if you’ve read this far, then what you need my friend is skyscraper content.
I won’t lie to you, it’s going to be work, probably more work than you ever thought you’d do on your blog. It’ll require research, hours of your time, and maybe a mild headache.
But the payoff?
More shares. More backlinks. More authority. More love.
Is everything a blogger can wish for.
In this post, you’ll learn the benefits of skyscraper content and I’m going to give you an easy, step by step guide to creating it and finally getting your blog the attention it deserves especially if you’re a newbie blogger.
This is going to be detailed so you might want to save it as a PDF by clicking the button below.
What is skyscraper content
Skyscraper content is the best content on a particular topic in your niche.
Brian Dean of Backlinko who coined the term describes it perfectly.
“What you’re doing here is finding the tallest skyscraper in your space…and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.”
No one can avoid gazing at the tallest building in the world. It’s bigger and more majestic than anything you’ve ever seen. It’s something you tell your friends about, it’s something even large publications write news reports on. Everyone talks about it.
Now take all that and apply it to content marketing.
Skyscraper content is simply the best, most detailed and most engaging content covering a particular topic in your niche. It has to be the best on the web.
Why? Because no one ever says “Wow that’s the 250th tallest building in the world?”
Not unless you’re the architect, you wouldn’t care. 250th isn’t impressive.
Brian gives an excellent case study on how skyscraper content raised his visitors by 110% in 14 days.
How did he do it?
He simply found a high performing topic in his niche which is Search engine optimization.
Topic: Top Google ranking factors
Discovered how he could make better content than anyone else. Improved design, more detail, more research etc.
And then he made something better.
Google’s 200 ranking factors: The complete list
Yes, he shot that far. No one else had anything even close to what he was offering, and as he describes it. It was near impossible to create. In return, he saw a 110% increase in traffic within 14 days of publishing, more than 300,000 referral visitors.
Are you sold on the benefits of skyscraper content yet? I bet you are.
How to Create Skyscraper Content
You now know skyscraper content can add rocket fuel to your content marketing engine, so how do you put it into action and reap all the delicious rewards?
Tools you’ll need:
- Moz open site explorer
- A fresh pot of coffee – ideal
- Thinking cap
The 3 steps to creating EPIC skyscraper content
Find popular content in your niche:
It would be an absolute waste if you created the best material on something only to discover no one
cares about it. To avoid tears and regret, a bit of research is needed.
There are two ways you can find popular content in your niche.
Using the Moz Open site explorer
The free plan gives you a couple of search results before you have to upgrade.
- Search for topics specific to your niche on Google i.e. Home cleaning tips if your niche is home management.
- Pick the top four results presented
- Input the domain name of the website in the search field and click top pages
You’ll be presented with a list of articles and the number of websites linking to it.
The higher number of inbound links, which are websites linking to the article, the more popular it is and the more benefit we can gain from making something better.
This social media tool allows you to find the most shared content on a particular topic.
All you have to do is input search terms in your niche, again we’ll use home cleaning tips.
And Buzzsumo will provide a list of the most shared content for that term.
Find popular content that matches your websites niche.
Remember the key is searching for popular content you can beat. And you can tell a topic is popular by
the number of comments, shares, and websites linking to it.
Once you’ve seen a bunch of popular content, make your pick.
Simply select the one you can beat.
Hang in there, this is where the real work begins, just think about the visitors and shares you’ll get after this publishes.
1. Making Your Skyscraper content
You’ve found the most popular topics in your niche. These are awesome because they represent your audiences most burning desires.
Now that you know what they want, how can you make your content better than everything else out there? Not just minutely better. No one cares if your skyscraper is just 1-inch taller, they need you to overshadow it with value.
There’s no way around this. It has to be the best. No one wants to link to the 123rd best post or the 30th. It needs to be the best. Period.
How to make your content the best
Once you’ve picked a popular post you know you can outshine, all you have to do is improve it. Here’s are a number of ways to do this:
- Offer more detail:
Does your competition’s most popular post feature a measly 15 tips on improving lawn care?
Then trim them down with 50 tips on improving lawn care. And I don’t mean for you to create thin dry content.
Give them detail. Add some flesh to the bones, make other bloggers in your niche say WOW.
Like these guys.
- Interviewing Influencers:
Sometimes bigger isn’t what you need. You need more influence.
Can you get an exclusive quote from a top influencer in your niche?
Pack more BOOM with your content by getting advice from one or multiple influencers. It’ll take a lot of work to make this happen and that’s what makes your content unique. It’s also why it’s great advice to build a network of influencers early on.
When you can get quotes from influencers, you not only get them to share your work. You’re infinitely more likely to get more people to share and even get links from the other competing websites in your niche.
- Perform an experiment:
If most of the popular content in your niche reference vague ideas with little or no data to back them
Engineer an experiment so comprehensive even they will have to link to it.
Now, this requires a bucket of elbow grease, but if you noticed, I never said creating skyscraper content would be easy.
That’s right a million websites. Does it sound like hard work? You bet it was.
In fact, the experiment would’ve cost him up to 10,000 dollars to run without help.
But you don’t have to spend ten thousand dollars to create awesome content.
You can just let your creative juices flow.
- Make Your content interactive
What if you can’t quote influencers or burn tens of thousands of dollars to make content that shines.
Well here’s where creativity can help you.
Turn boring but popular content in your niche into something that’s super easy for your audience to
consume. This can be a detailed but fun video guide or infographics, which are great ways to circulate your content.
Your content should be informative and easily digestible. Remember, skyscraper content isn’t judged by length but overall value.
1. Promoting your content
It’s useless to create the best content on the web if no will see it. Digital marketing expert Derek Halpern has an 80/20 principle for all the content he produces. 20% of his efforts are spent on creating the content and 80% on marketing it.
Do you think Brian and Matthew simply created breathtakingly detailed content, hit publish and then called it a night? Absolutely not, they wouldn’t be marketers if they did that. Your content must be shamelessly promoted or the work isn’t worth it.
How to Give your skyscraper content the attention it deserves
Okay stay with me on this one, we’re in the final sprint. I know most of the content you produce don’t take this much work, but there’s a reason top bloggers like Neil Patel and Brian Dean get to where they are. The reward is worth the work.
Create an outreach list
It’s time to get back to those popular posts and do some more research. You know the content was shared a lot. Now all you have to do is know which influencers shared it.
Note that your aim is not to contact everyone that linked or shared the popular post. Your aim is to target influencers. They’re people with websites in your niche, people with large followings, people interested in this type of content.
Moz and Buzzsumo come to the rescue again.
Using Moz Open site explorer
You can download a spreadsheet of all the websites that linked back to the article you have now surpassed.
Once you’ve pulled up the results, look for the export option and click CSV.
Again, remember you have to reach only influencers in your niche.
Using the Buzzsumo tool
Analyze the popular content you’ve beaten.
Use the view sharers button to see a list of people that shared it. Then simply sort the list by the size of their followers.
Image courtesy of Buzzsumo
Note the website information listed with their names.
Send the influencers an email
Gathering your data from both Moz and Buzzsumo, you can now make a list of the top influencers. All you have to do now is send them an email. You can also message them through their social media profile but email is best.
Simply go to their website and use the contact form. Personalize the email and point to your post. Keep the email short.
Here's an example:
I noticed that you shared (or linked to) (article).
It was a great article and even inspired me to write something similar. Only more updated and with greater detail (Your link).
I just think your readers will find it helpful.
Have a nice day.
Short and straight to the point. You don’t have to beg because your content is clearly better. And you just need some of these people to share your content.
Some Pro tips
- If your skyscraper content is so great then why not repurpose it? Offer it to your audience as a bonus for signing up for your email list.
- Also, never forget the art of follow-up. Your email might simply get lost in your influencer’s inbox, so send a friendly remind two days later.
When you see great content on the internet it is hardly ever created by accident. It takes planning, creativity, and marketing.
Skyscraper content is made by:
- Finding popular topics in your niche.
- Creating the best content on that topic.
- Then promoting your content.
They’re hard to create but skyscraper content sets the foundation for more authority and higher rankings.
I hope this post gave you something to think about before you publish one of those 200 words “I’m too tired to write more” post.
You know the steps. Now get to work and reap the rewards.
Lenny Johnson is a freelance writer and digital marketer for hire at B2B Content Lab. He engineers high impact content that builds authority, increases customer loyalty and drive sales for businesses.