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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Conducting a Thought Leadership Audit

By December 13, 2023May 3rd, 2024No Comments

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Conducting a Thought Leadership Audit

December is the perfect time to look back on how well your thought leadership initiatives performed. I like to conduct an audit, which gives me not only a broader view of trends, but also a deep dive into insightful metrics. Having this data on hand, enables me to tweak my strategy to be even more effective in the new year. I explain the process I follow in my article Conducting an End-of-Year Thought Leadership Audit. Initially, this task may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated.

Strategies for Streamlining Your Audit

1. Revisit What You Want to Accomplish

Hopefully, your business goals and objectives were well articulated at the beginning of the program. These may include: 

  • Reputation enhancement
  • Media coverage/placement in either B2B or B2C publications
  • Establishing interest among clients,prospects, strategic partners and journalists looking for subject matter experts

Did you meet objectives? Do you still have the same goals for the coming year?

2. Identify the Most Critical Metrics Without Getting Caught in the Weeds

These are the metrics that matter most to you/your organization. Here is a breakdown of what I like to track for each type of thought leadership content:

Social Media

  • Impressions
  • Comments
  • Reposts
  • Increase in the number of followers over a specific time period (this illustrates your scope of influence)

News Mentions

  • Timing of the story
  • Accuracy and quality of your contribution
  • Placement and visibility within the article (is it close to the opening or at the end?)
  • Reach of the publication/audience size

Long Form Content (Byline Articles)

  • Impressions
  • Comments
  • Reposts 

3. Create a Content Evaluation Spreadsheet

It’s helpful to keep a spreadsheet of your thought leadership content throughout the year so that in Q4 you can quickly evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Create columns for each of your content pillars (the themes you “own” and write about consistently) across the top, such as: transformative leadership, mental health, company culture.

For social media, note the number of impressions, comments, and reposts if applicable. Also note the kind of graphics used: stock photography, personal photos, word cards, infographic. 

Over time you will see which themes resonate the most and also if there’s an uptick when certain types of graphics are used. You can also track hashtags, but this is more difficult. For LinkedIn users, note that the platform is currently reevaluating their hashtag policy)

When tracking traditional articles, create columns for media platform name, article theme, link to article,, circulation, editorial quality, tone, any included hyperlinks, placement within the publication (prominent or not), and audience size (this metric may be found in media databases such as Muckrack and Cision or on the outlet’s website). 

Staying on top of this spreadsheet throughout the year will make conducting your audit much easier.

How do you evaluate your thought leadership content? 

Julie Livingston

Author Julie Livingston

Julie Livingston is president/founder of WantLeverage Communications

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