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High-Impact Targets: 8 Ways to Measure Thought Leadership Goals

As you continue to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, it’s important to measure both the impact and the influence your content has on your audience. 

Here are eight key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you track the impact and performance of your content to help you reach your thought leadership goals

1 - New Followers 

Over time, the number of followers for your work should grow. Effective thought leadership offers valuable new insights to your audience. Ideally, your thought leadership should incentivize them to follow you in anticipation of even more valuable content in the future. 

An increase in followers indicates that your content is resonating with your audience on a particular platform. By monitoring your content, you can often reveal patterns. If you realize a sudden surge in new followers, take a good look at the content that ignited that interest. Determine what note it is hitting with readers: 

  • Does it offer a fresh or provocative stance on an old idea?
  • Does it explain something new?
  • Is it a current topic that’s gaining interest everywhere?
  • Did the platform for your content have anything to do with it?

Once you have a good idea of what specifically triggered new interest in your thought leadership, you can apply the same principles to future content. You’ll soon see more new followers and further establish yourself as a thought leader. 

2 - Website Traffic

The traffic to your professional website can also reflect the effectiveness of your thought leadership efforts. Monitor the monthly traffic to your content and look for correlations in the activities you perform to promote yourself. 

Look at where your website traffic is coming from. If you’ve been posting content to your social media profiles with links to your website, social media is likely the source that inspired new interest in your work. 

If you presented on a webinar, you might see traffic coming from the webinar host. Tracking where your traffic originates can provide valuable insight into which strategies are prompting your audience to seek more content from you. 

3 - Commenters

While it might seem obvious, people commenting in response to your thought leadership indicates that it’s not only being noticed but also causing a physical reaction. People are paying attention to what you have to say. Both good and bad comments mean that your content sparked something in them that inspired them to respond to it. 

Take note of what commenters are writing. Did your work spark controversy or provide an enhanced view of something a reader was already interested in? Comments that disagree with your perspective also indicate that it gained notice.  

4 - Media Mentions

Your media presence is another valuable KPI to consider. You can use a tool like Google Alerts to track mentions of you and your content. Using this data, you can think about what media placements you were able to secure in a given month. 

Track your media presence by keeping a running log of each appearance you do, the media outlet, the estimated readership, and the audience to which it was presented. Being asked to supply quotes for another’s work is also an indication that your thought leadership is probably on the right track.

5 - Number of Quality Backlinks

Quality backlinks to your website or work can also help you to track how well you’re expanding your reach as a thought leader. Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. These links show that your content resonates with your readers. They can help boost your online presence while enticing new followers to learn about you and your work. 

6 - Speaking Engagements

Speaking engagements help you grow your reputation and expand your reach as a thought leader. Being asked to speak at quality engagements by people who’ve followed your thought leadership posts means you’re providing worthwhile, thought-provoking content.

A professional event that puts you in front of the right audience can make a significant contribution to your success as a thought leader and position you for more followers. 

7 - Content Volume

If you’re not putting out a steady amount of content your thought leadership success will stall. However, don't expect all of your content to be winners as some content will naturally do better than others.

Track all of the content you produce. Then, categorize it by social media posts, blog posts, guest blog posts, white papers, and videos. Track the number of posts by others on which you commented. 

8 - Audience Members

Pay attention to who your audience is. Are your commenters well-respected within their fields? If so, you’ve probably reached the right audience for your posts. If comments left in response to your work seem to have no clue about the ideas you’re presenting, the audience your content is reaching may be too inexperienced.


Measuring thought leadership KPIs can help you monitor your thought leadership progress over time. You can begin by:

  1. Monitoring your content for new followers.
  2. Looking at where your website traffic originates.
  3. Taking note of what commenters are writing.
  4. Keeping track of your media mentions.
  5. Determining the quality of the backlinks to your posts.
  6. Considering whether your content is leading to speaking engagements.
  7. Tracking all the content you produce.
  8. Paying attention to who your content audience is.

To get the most out of your thought leadership content, continue to post to online communities whose audiences relate to your work. As a Newsweek Expert Forum, you’ll be able to post your thought leadership content on the Newsweek site while also connecting with other industry leaders and seasoned professionals such as yourself. To learn more about becoming a member, visit our member benefits page or contact us directly. 


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