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I prefer reading articles that get straight to the core of the topic.

Example: Why Did The Vikings Die Out.

A Skyscraper-type article would cover:

  • What are Vikings?
  • Who are they?
  • What language did they speak?
  • How did they become so dominant?
  • What is their everyday life like?
  • Who are the top 10 most famous Vikings?

and MAYBE finally...

  • How did the Vikings die out?

How about you?

  • DD

    Daniel Daines-Hutt

    over 2 years ago #

    Disagree

    Its incredibly important to have context to an issue to make it emotionally connect

    I dislike weak ass content that adds no value to the internetz :D

    In all seriousness there are 2 things here:

    Like most have pointed out, the skyscraper method is finding and improving content to create the best possible version for people to find

    Not the longest or the most full of extra stuff

    A sign of a great writer is someone who can say it as effectively with less

    But...
    After living through the content farm days, I would have to say I would rather see a heap of okish content that is longer and more indepth, even if its not perfect

    The writer gets better at their craft
    The content is more valuable
    The reader benefits more (If done well)

    There's also the issue of we need some kind of context to ever do anything
    As a species to save energy we are pretty lazy or apathetic to certain things

    We need that whole build up to actually make it mean anything

    Spoiler warning

    Bruce Willis was a ghost the whole time

    The thing is that spoiler on its own or knowing that without seeing the rest of the film, means pretty much nothing to someone who hadn't seen it

    But after moving through the film and the situations it actually means something right?

    Thats why we need this

    Is their an epidemic of long form weak content at the moment?
    Possibly
    Is Brian to blame? P
    Maybe

    But is that still far better than all the spun, weak content farm crap we used to have to deal with
    A resounding yes

    And over time those writers will get better

  • CT

    Carlos Tinca

    over 2 years ago #

    In your example, maybe it won't get a lot of exposure since it is full of blah blah to add more words to the article.

    I think you can skycrape an article by showing the best information (and directly) about how the vikings died and also adding some multimedia or specific design to get the attention from the user.

    • ST

      Stanley Tan

      over 2 years ago #

      I agree. Those type of skyscraper articles is good where they answer the question straight from the start and add more information to support their answers.

  • AM

    Amanda Milligan

    over 2 years ago #

    I think if you land on a skyscraper-type post when searching for such a specific question, that means there's a great opportunity to produce content that answers that particular question. ;)

    I like reading both types -- it just depends on how much depth I'm looking for. Sometimes people want "What are the most successful YouTube channels?" and others want "Everything you need to know to create a successful YouTube channel."

    But to your point, I bet that now that it's so well known how important comprehensive posts are, everyone is trying to make very in-depth content for every topic. But that isn't always appropriate.

    Choosing the right topic for a skyscraper post is crucial, and the WHOLE post should be answering an important question. If you're writing the post thinking most people will only care about one paragraph, you're doing it wrong.

    • ST

      Stanley Tan

      over 2 years ago #

      I think Google will improve their algorithm to rank posts that answer the specific question instead of ranking in-depth posts that don't necessarily answer the search query.

      When we search for "What are the most successful YouTube channels?", we want a post that covers the most successful YouTube channels NOT "Everything you need to know to create a successful YouTube channel." which covers how to create a YouTube channel step by step to monetizing a YouTube channel.

      "If you're writing the post thinking most people will only care about one paragraph, you're doing it wrong." - I prefer this. When I search for something I want to read a post that answers my search query in the fastest and shortest time possible.

      It is almost like answering a question in real life, you want the person to get straight to the point, not babble and answer it in a "Skyscraper-type" style.

      Maybe that is just me. I prefer straight to the point answers.

  • JI

    johan ingles-le nobel

    over 2 years ago #

    I dislike seeing an article padded out just for the sake of wordcount, yes.

    On the other hand, if you have a specific question and there isn't an article online that answers that exact question, Google will try and land you on something close - which maybe a skyscraper article. Not really Google's fault nobody has done an article with exactly your question...

    • ST

      Stanley Tan

      over 2 years ago #

      "I dislike seeing an article padded out just for the sake of word count, yes." - Agree.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 2 years ago #

    The way I interpret the intent of "Skyscraper" posts is to take something that isn't as good at conveying a key concept and making it better for that thing.
    More often that not, that means providing:
    - context and/or
    - more detail on the "how" and "why" to the "what" that already exists
    Both of these provide the reader greater understanding of that key concept to be able to apply it to their situation.

    I'm not sure that necessarily translates (or should translate) to insanely posts with a lot of ancillary information that is not germane to the point being discussed.
    The bottom line for me is that if the reader is going to walk away with a better perspective on something than currently exists then that's what should go into the skyscraper content.

    cc @backlinko

  • MH

    Max Hodges

    over 2 years ago #

    It depends. Someone can tell you some fact in a meme, but what often I want to know the reasons for the conclusions. Long-form essays about often about building a case and presenting the evidence for some theory. I can tell you that people should be able to sell their organs, that Fair Trade coffee hurts the very people it's intended to help, or that forensic science isn't really science at all (with the exception of DNA testing) but is that enough, or do you need more context before you'll believe any of that?

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