Anyone with experience in the world of online retails knows two things to be true. First, the customer is always right. And second, content is king. Internet content has proven itself time and again to be one of the largest driving forces of sales and revenue. When done right, it can take any business from an unknown, unvisited corner of the internet to a well-established business with a wide base of customers.
However, not every company is able to put together a digital content strategy capable of reaching these heights as making a name of oneself within the chaos of the internet is no small task. Some have turned to the content creation strategy known as the skyscraper technique. When employing this strategy, a company will attempt to create a better version of web-linked content that is already garnering attention online and replacing the original with their own creation. By doing so, the publicity that was once held by another company is now going to the company that created the better content. As Andy Crestodina, the Co-Founder of Orbit Media Studios, put it, “When creating content, be the best answer on the internet.”
Seeing as no strategy is bulletproof, we connected with a few business experts to understand the pros and cons of skyscraper content creation strategy.
Pro: It Takes a Different Route
Lina Miranda is the Vice President of Marketing of AdQuick, a brand offering out-of-home (OOH) advertising platform. She believes that the capability to connect with people differently should not be underestimated.
“Traditional SEO content is all about finding popularity through the repeated use of buzzwords which represent who you are and what you do. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this method as it continues to be useful.
But skyscraper technique takes a different route. While the use of words is vastly important as your goal here is to replace existing content with better content, people should be discovering you through an existing connection. You know that a webpage has popularity for a reason and by stepping into that popularity you’re making it easier to attract people. You’ve gone from fishing in the sea to fishing in a pool.”
Pro: You Stand Out
Hoist specializes in everything you need to start, grow, and run your own home service business. Their CEO, John Jacob, suggests the skyscraper strategy because it puts the spotlight on the company at hand.
“I’ve seen too many companies try to go down the road of using the skyscraper strategy and all they can manage to do is create a replica of the content they’re trying to replace. Not only is this lazy, it won’t do much for furthering your company. When you create truly superior content, the audience will take notice. From new studies or data to additional pieces of media, a true skyscraper piece will cause you to stand out from those around you and above those you’re attempting to replace. Just be sure you’re standing on concrete information or you’ll be quick to lose credibility.”
Pro: Small Changes Make a Big Impact
In skyscraper content creation strategy, one of the biggest metrics is the ranking of visits per month. Each spot is worth more than the one below it. Paradigm Peptides is a business providing top-quality research products, premium peptides, and SARMS supplements. Their Chief Marketing Officer, Christy Pyrz, considers the value behind these rankings to be essential to realize.
“The higher your number of clicks on your site, the more likely you are to have or increase customers. Think of it this way. Let’s say you run an architecture consulting business and you’re focused on the search term ‘independent freelance architecture consulting’ which has 1500 clicks per month. Your services start at $1000 per month and you currently rank number five in overall clicks per month. After implementing a skyscraper piece, you suddenly jump from number five to number three. This results in an increase of 100 clicks. From there you would only need the smallest percentage of people to engage in business with you to make a significant impact on your bottom line per month.”
Pro: There is No Guessing
John Cheng is the Co-Founder and CEO of Baotris, a brand offering data-driven marketing. He advises others to take advantage of skyscraper creation as there is no speculation involved in who the audience is.
“The beauty of skyscraper content is that you’re venturing into an area that already has established connections and interactions.You’re after an audience that presently exists instead of spending who knows how much time trying to create an audience out of thin air. Because you’re taking the place of another which has already demonstrated outside interest, you know what you’re getting. There is no guessing when it comes to the people and their level of interest. I can’t think of a bigger advantage when seeking an audience who may spend money on your product.”
Con: It Might be a Popularity Game
OSDB specializes in digital sports platforms with the most extensive sports information on the web. Their Co-Founder and CEO, Ryan Rottman, believes one of the significant downsides to the skyscraper technique is that it might hinge on how aware people are of those seeking to replace a piece of content.
“Like with anything, there are certain brands, names, or companies which are more recognizable than others within the SEO world. You could create one of the best skyscraper pieces known to mankind but if you can’t get anyone to read it, does it really exist? If you’re a small name or company, you could easily run into the wall that is the game of popularity within SEO and skyscraper content creation. There’s really nothing that can be done in this regard other than keep your nose to the grindstone and hope for a breakthrough.”
Ideas in a vacuum can seem limitless but fall well short of these dreams when they touch reality. CRAFTD London is a business providing high-quality jewelry for men. Their Head of Digital, Dan Potter, proposes being prepared for this as it pertains to skyscraper content creation.
“When you talk about the ideal outcomes for creating skyscraper content, it’s a world filled with numerous clicks and an increase in purchases all while being the first result in a Google search. But, sometimes our expectations can be a little lofty. Not every attempt at creating a skyscraper piece will be a home run. For one reason or another, consumers don’t always take to something new. Some pieces will be more of an effort than they end up being worth. This can not only be disheartening but financially harmful as well.”
Con: What Does the Reader Want?
Drew Sherman is the Director of Marketing and Communications of Carvaygo, a brand offering car-hauling services, and auto transport. He cautions others to not stray too far away from the demands of the audience.
“Oftentimes, there is more than one visible reason why an active piece of content is receiving engagement from online users. Sometimes it is the information contained within the piece while other times a video or even the writing style. Different pieces hit home for different reasons. Essentially, as a skyscraper coordinator, you’re finding what the reader wants by observing an existing piece and reverse engineering those same elements for corporate gain. But, if you fail to give the audience what they want, it could leave you hurting rather than treading water.”
Azuna specializes in all-natural plant-based antimicrobial odor eliminators & air purifiers. Their Director of Marketing, Phillip Montalvo, considers one of the larger issues with skyscraper contention creation to be the lengths pieces go to without containing depth.
“There’s a general understanding that your replacement piece should be miles ahead of the current one. But I’ve witnessed too many attempts at skyscraper pieces where all the author managed to achieve was creating a longer version of the current piece. They don’t add any information outside of the physical presence of words on the page. This piece is actually miles behind the current one because the reader will have a more difficult time understanding the information within the piece.”
While there is evidence to suggest that a skyscraper content creation strategy is a path to growth, there exist solid examples of where it can kill off existing engagement. As shown above, it is truly a game of risk versus reward. Before you run off and start pumping out your next piece or making a rash decision, heed the words of Kristina Halvorson, the CEO of Brain Traffic, “More content is not better. What’s the worst-case scenario if we slow ourselves down and do some analysis?”