16 December 2021

How to measure
the impact of
thought
leadership

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.

Delving deep into your 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.

3. Media Mentions

Mentions in the press can increase the reach of your content, and, depending on the publication, increase trust in your opinions. These mentions may happen organically, especially as your voice becomes known in your niche, or may be as a result of a successful PR campaign. A good way to get your message out there could be to respond to journalist queries on sites such as Help A Reporter Out (HARO). Then track how many times your material is mentioned.

4. Backlinks

A significant piece of content will provide new insight or data into a subject. With this in mind, you can expect that other people will link to your material in their own content. Gaining these links back to your site will show your content is authoritative, increasing your ranking in search engines and increasing the reach of your post exponentially.

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• How to create a thought leadership strategy
• How to promote your material for maximum engagement
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5. Anecdotal Evidence

While the above all provide quantitative data, you would be wise not to ignore qualitative information. Your salespeople may be able to discover that a lead’s first touchpoint with your company was through a piece of thought leadership they consumed.

Your thought leaders may receive positive feedback in the form of email messages, or in business conversations. Social media listening tools can tell if sentiment about your business is positive or not. While these metrics may not tell you how many people are reading, interacting with or acting upon your content, they can give some indication as to the public perception of your company and the content you’re producing.


JDJ Creative are thought leadership design experts

If you’re looking for a thought leadership design partner, JDJ Creative are the specialists. To find out how we can work with you to create exceptional reports, please get in touch.

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