One of the hardest things about writing content online is you’re usually not the first person to cover any given topic. If you look around, you will find articles on almost every subject imaginable. That means if you want your blog to succeed, you need to find a way to make your content stand out.
The good news (for you) is a lot of the articles you find online aren’t that great. For example, they might be missing valuable information or not be thorough enough for readers to walk away informed. Those articles are regular buildings, so yours need to be skyscrapers.
In this article, I’m going to introduce you to the Skyscraper writing technique, why it works, and teach you how to put it into action. Let’s get into it!
An Introduction to the Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper writing technique is a fancy name for a simple concept. When you’re working on an article with a topic other blogs have already tackled, you need to make yours better and, if possible, longer as well. The idea is, when people look for keywords related to that topic, your article will come up, and they’ll see your content is the most thorough.
Longer, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean better. In some cases, you don’t need to write a 2,000-word article to tackle a subject. That’s why I’m an advocate of trying to beat competing blogs in terms of structure and research. This approach works for several reasons:
- It makes you look like an authority in your subject, which can make visitors want to read more of your content.
- You can steal traffic from the competition by beating their efforts.
- You’ll get into the habit of writing thorough and well-researched pieces.
The term ‘Skyscraper technique’ comes from the fact it involves looking at your competitor’s articles, then building on them to create something better. It’s one of many approaches you can use to write better blog posts. However, if you’re still in the planning stages of launching your blog, you should take a look at our Beginner Blogging course before you dive into advanced techniques.
Now, let’s talk about how to put the Skyscraper writing technique into action.
How to Put the Skyscraper Writing Technique Into Action (In 3 Steps)
The core of this method is to study your competitors and beat them at their own game, adding your own spin to each article in the process. Here’s how I do it.
Step #1: Find the Content You Want to Compete With
To start with, you’re going to need an idea for an article you want to write. Once you have it, your first move will be to look at existing articles tackling that topic. For example, if you want to write about ways to lose weight fast, here are some of the articles you would have to compete against:
In most cases, you don’t need to look beyond the first page of Google’s results for any topic you’re researching. After all, those results are at the top for a reason, so they’re the ones you should aim to beat. Go ahead and take a quick look at some of those top results now and make a list of the best ones, then move on to step number two.
Step #2: Break Down Your Competitor’s Article Structure
The most popular article for the search term ‘x ways to lose weight fast’ is a simple list including 42 approaches. It looks intimidating at first glance, but you may quickly realize there’s not enough depth to each section:
Another top result narrows down the methods to a lean 15. Each of them is a bit more detailed, but as you can see, there’s a trend among this type of article.
When you do this for real, you should look at more than two results, of course. Once you’ve analyzed a few examples, you should have enough information to answer these questions:
- What information are these articles missing?
- Do they use an excellent subheading structure or can I improve on it?
- Are these articles easy to grasp for a beginner?
If you can write an article that’s more informative, better structured, and more beginner-friendly than those among the top existing results, you have a good shot at beating them. It’s easier said than done of course, but as you can see, it’s all about research.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people focus more on length when the Skyscraper writing technique comes up. Length is important since a lot of people only skim results and it can give them the impression your content is better. However, I believe every article should just be as long as necessary. If you need to pad your content so it looks longer, you’re wasting effort you could be using on making it better.
Step #3: Write and Publish Your Skyscraper Content
At this stage, you have all the information you need to write an article that’s better (and maybe longer) than what your competitors have published. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind if you want to stick the landing, such as:
- Making sure the images you use look better than those of your competitor’s and that they make sense in the context of your article.
- Double checking that your article isn’t missing any important information, so readers don’t walk away with more questions than they came in with.
- Following good formatting rules so your content is easy to read.
- Choosing a good title for your post so it stands out in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
- Using a solid subheading structure so your article is easy to skim.
In a nutshell, you need to make sure your Skyscraper content is polished enough so it stands out. There are a ton of amazing blogs out there that don’t get the attention they deserve just because they don’t focus on the small details. However, if you want to blog professionally, these are things you need to internalize for every post you publish.
Whatever your blog’s topic is, your articles should always be better and – if possible – longer than your competitor’s. If you really put the time into researching your pieces, their quality will speak for itself, and visitors should flock to you over other similar websites. That’s what the Skyscraper writing technique is all about, in a nutshell.
As for how to put the technique into action, here are three quick steps to get you going:
- Find the content you want to compete with.
- Break down your competitor’s article structure and see how you can improve it.
- Write and publish your Skyscraper content.
Do you have any questions about the Skyscraper writing technique? Ask away in the comments section below!