Did you know, 74% of thought leadership producers have no way to link sales or wins to their thought leadership? Given the amount of time that goes into creating a piece of thought leadership content, that’s crazy, right.
While the goal of most thought leadership will be to generate sales, in the short term the aim will probably be to raise brand awareness and influence an audience’s way of thinking. The goals you set in the planning stage will influence how you measure success.
The importance of setting goals before sharing thought leadership
Setting SMART goals, therefore, is essential to being able to measure the impact of your thought leadership. Knowing what success looks like before promoting your material will allow you to measure the right metrics post-release. It also ensures other stakeholders are on the same page.
Being a top of funnel marketing tactic, these may seem to be vanity metrics in the first instance. But delving deeper into these numbers can give valuable insight into how your audience find your content, their demographic, how they’re interacting with your insights and their long-time value.
Luckily, there are a host of metrics available to marketers which can be used to measure success. Here is a rundown of five metrics that can be used to measure the impact of thought leadership.
1. Page Views
When judging how effective your thought leadership has been, perhaps the first KPI that comes to mind will be the amount of web traffic your site receives. Tracked using Google Analytics (or your own analytics programme), page views can show how many people visited specific content on your website. For thought leadership to be impactful it needs to be read, so a high number of page views of your content is a good indicator of its popularity.
But it’s important to dig deeper than that to get a full overview of its success. How long the user spent on the page will show how engaged they were. Did they take any subsequent action on your site, such as reading more insights, signing up for future updates or getting in touch through a contact form?
Correctly tracking the customer journey can give credit to your thought leadership in playing a part in a sale, weeks or even months after the customer first read your article.
It’s also a good idea to pay attention to where your traffic came from. If promoted effectively, this should be from several sources, including email marketing and social media. If one of these sources stands out, consider using this as your primary marketing source next time around, or maybe think about putting further efforts into underperforming traffic sources.
You may also notice an increase in branded searches coming from Google. An upward trend in the number of searches with your brand name in them may show that your name is becoming better known, or that your influence on your field is growing.
2. Social Media Followers
If you share your thought leadership content on social media (and you really should be), and if your content is reaching the right audience, then it’s not unrealistic to expect to see follow numbers increase.
Once you do get traction on social media, built-in analytics can show whether the people interacting with your content are from the right target demographic. If they’re not it may be worth thinking of ways to tailor your content to get it in front of the right audience.
Remember this success will not happen overnight. Thought leadership is a long-term tactic and it may take many pieces of content to convert a reader into a follower. Even then, it will take even longer to turn those followers into clients.