5 ways to measure your thought leadership strategy
If you shoot for the moon, you will land in the stars.
Goals to influence thought leadership are ambitious but completely attainable. If your goal is to grow your voice and reputation, make sure to think ahead and implement a strategy on how to measure the outcome of your thought leadership pursuit.
The power of thought leadership is unprecedented; an Edelman-LinkedIn survey has shown that almost 60% of business decision-makers believe thought leadership directly led to their awarding of business to an organization
The truth is that it is notoriously difficult to measure the impact of thought leadership strategies. We urgently need thought leadership as a way to add value to our content, products, and services all over the world. However, the longer we fail in tracking these strategies’ outcomes, the harder it’s becoming to prove the validity of thought leadership to companies. Without being able to prove the validity of a thought leadership strategy, companies will begin to experience a deficit in innovation and this adds an even greater importance to establishing ways to measure outcomes.
For this reason, PRLab is providing you with five of the best ways we’ve found to measure a thought leadership strategy:
1. Monitor Website Traffic
This is the most classic approach to measuring your thought leadership strategy. What’s the first thing you do when you’ve found interest in a company? You check their website.
It goes like this: the more you grow your voice and reputation both online and offline, the higher the influx of people you will see approaching your website.
Monitor the website traffic monthly and create reports based on that timeline. If your company hosts any special events or does networking, make sure to take a look at your website for any spikes in online traffic during those periods. This will help you evaluate your outside efforts as an organization and can also result in time and money efficiency.
As you are monitoring the users accessing your website, make sure to pay attention to where they are coming from. What are the traffic sources and why are they coming to you? As a leader of thought, it’s also extremely beneficial to keep up a strong social media presence – individually or as a company. If this is the case for you, take notice of the amount of traffic coming to the website from your social media platforms.
On top of monitoring website traffic monthly and keeping up with the sources, it’s essential to see where users are going to on your website. For example, if the website traffic is mostly directed to your blog, make sure to compliment this traffic by increasing blog posts and sharing them on social media platforms in order to furthermore increase their visibility.
2. Count Social Media Followers
Social media followers are a good measurement of influence, especially in our modern-day media landscape.
Be realistic about your social media following; it is uncommon to experience a spike in followers overnight but regardless it’s important to monitor any kind of growth. Why? Because it can provide insight into the kinds of posts that need either more or less attention.
Most social media platforms or third-party apps offer ways to track reach and growth. Taking a look at these statistics can help you understand your following and allows you to know which groups are better to target based on their gender, age, and whereabouts.
If you notice a platform taking off more than others, make sure to put additional time and energy into its growth because those followers will most likely trickle into your other platforms.
It’s also good to see what kind of social media posts do better. Let’s say that you obtain more views on your stories on Instagram than you do likes on your feed posts. In that case, perhaps the more important content should be disseminated across your stories. Listen to what your followers are trying to tell you and plan or act accordingly.
Key your eye out for incremental growth.
3. Make Note of Branded Queries
Branded queries are when people look for something with your brand’s name through a search engine such as Google. Basically, it is any search result specific to your brand.
They are among the most important keywords to optimize because they represent a brand-aware audience that is more likely to continue searching for your product and tip-off the point of conversion and become a potential customer. In fact, most of the time they are already customers searching to repurchase your product.
Thought leadership and branded queries are intimately linked. Indeed, the Edelman-LinkedIn survey found that 60% of decision-makers said thought leadership convinced them to buy a product or service they were not previously considering.
By conducting a branded search audit, you can better track your thought leadership strategy. The more searches you receive, the higher you rank in the search results, thus more people are talking about you/your brand, ultimately meaning that your thought leadership influences more people.
One way you can make note of your branded queries is through Google Search Console who measures your site’s Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and improve your site’s visibility in Google Search results. By taking note of this data you can easily track your branded queries.
4. Track Backlinks
Backlinks are links on other company’s websites that reference your site, and therefore redirect people to your website.
Sit with your team and decide upon a monthly or quarterly goal in terms of how many backlinks you collectively want to gain. Backlinks help SEO efforts and help build your brand’s credibility; it helps with credibility because it shows approval and a sort of alliance with other companies. In other words, backlinks are like a vouching system that help establish authority and affiliations amongst complementary companies.
Keep in mind that some sites might have mentioned your company but have not necessarily linked it. What do you do in this case? Sometimes the best thing you can do is just ask.
There are tools out there that help track who has mentioned your site but hasn’t linked it back to you. A highly recommendable tool to provide you with this kind of service is SEMrush. Once you’ve identified who has mentioned your brand but hasn’t linked it, contact that company with a link to a page that you’d like them to attach to their mention of you. This way you earn another backlink for your monthly or quarterly goal.
5. Creating Google Alerts
Google alerts is a great ressource that allows you to track specific keywords.
The number one reason you want to install google alerts right away is reputation management. By doing so, you are now on top of every mention your business gets right away. It also lets you check how many events you’re invited to speak at.
It is also a useful way to keep tabs on your industry. Indeed, by monitoring the web for terms that are theme-specific, you can discover new competitors, potential clients, and keep up to date with everything happening in your field.
While it’s great to know what is being said about you, it is also important to know who is saying something similar to you as well. Google trends can help you find media outlets that are utilizing specific terms that are related to your thought leadership, therefore giving you the opportunity to make connections and perhaps get published.
By using google alerts to keep track of all this data, you can easily measure your thought leadership.
To sum it up...
While it is often overlooked, thought leadership is a key component in marketing. It is indeed hard to measure your influence, but with these five key performance indicators that we have identified, you can now focus on keeping track of your thought leadership. It is important to set goals and frequently check in on your statistics in order to know where to focus your resources. If you’re interested in more pieces on thought leadership check out our blog!
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