Quality content is crucial in spreading a company’s brand awareness, building credibility and providing audiences with a positive interaction with your company. But how do you know what information will attract your target audience? Your first thought may be to start with the Google search bar. Not a bad idea, but how we search is often just as important as where we search.

As SEO Manager, I’m always teaching new employees and others in the D.C. marketing scene about how to find new content ideas (I even presented on the topic once). At Knucklepuck, we start with Ahrefs and other industry-leading tools, but I have a few more tricks up my sleeve to find content ideas when it seems you’ve already thought of everything.

Knucklepuck CEO Brett Snyder giving a presentation at LaunchCon 2016.

Knucklepuck CEO Brett Snyder presented 22 tactics for finding new content ideas when you’ve done it all at the digital marketing conference Launch Con in 2016.

1. Research Your Competitors

There’s SEO wisdom to be found in the phrase, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Not that competitors are your enemies, but whatever content they have, you want to have, too.

To ensure you’re staying competitive, take a peek at what other companies in your industry are doing. Blogs, resource pages, and reader comment threads are all useful places to look. Then take their topics to the next level and answer the questions your competitors didn’t (or don’t know how to).

2. Use a Wildcard Search Operator

Search operators are used in combination with a search query to fine-tune search engine results. Using these tools, you can tailor your search for a phrase that appears only in page titles, content, or other ways.

Popular search operators are:

  • Intext
  • Inurl
  • Filetype
  • Related

The wildcard search operator (noted with an asterisk after your search) is the MVP of this group because it represents unspecified data relating to your search. Using the wildcard operator with your query will produce a string of subjects and titles all related to the original topic.

A screenshot of Google.com, showing the auto-suggest results for the search 'best * of 2017'

An example of a wildcard search on Google.

3. Use Your W’s

Who, what, when, where and why — the five W’s. We all learned them in elementary school, but have you been using these to their fullest potential? Each of these questions, when properly phrased, can produce different angles and answers to your research topic.

4. Ubersuggest

This free resource is a Knucklepuck favorite. Ubersuggest allows you to quickly explore an extensive set of keywords not included in the Google Adword catalog. Ubersuggest is particularly helpful if you’re looking to create content with SEO in mind that gets exposure on search engines like Google and Bing.

5. Answer the Public

If you have a topic in mind, but aren’t sure what angle to take, Answer the Public can help. After typing in a keyword or phrase, this free website will return a list of popular questions surrounding the topic. These questions can help you focus your content on areas that are of interest to your desired readers and potential customers.

A screenshot showing the web of the results from a search on Answer the Public for 'dresses'.

Answer the Public will show you a web of possible search queries for a given keyword.

Writing Compelling Content

Armed with new content topics, all that’s left to do is start writing. Your content should always add value for your reader, not just noise, so make sure what you write is compelling and high quality.

If you’re looking for more in-depth information on how to incorporate SEO into your content writing, I recommend subscribing to Bamboo Chalupa. Knucklepuck’s CEO Brett Snyder co-hosts this digital marketing podcast, and they regularly discuss how to write content with an SEO focus.

Also, consider getting in touch with Knucklepuck if you don’t have the resources to write compelling content on your own. Our team of writers use SEO best practices and journalistic-style research to produce content that communicates subject-matter expertise in your industry.