No single metric can give you an idea of the health of your thought leadership program.
But this one comes close.
The most common metrics used to judge thought leadership are reads, engagements, and post-read actions like profile views for authors. Each of these by themselves offers an insight into the performance of your thought leadership but needs to be viewed alongside other metrics as a piece of the whole.
Comparing a whole bunch of metrics at the same time makes any sort of comparison so complicated as to be almost impossible.
"We've dropped in reads vs last year but we are up in engagement".
Statements like these paint a confusing picture and mean that unless all the metrics are green, the temptation will be to take the performance as "mixed" or to dismiss the numbers as inconclusive.
Here's where the single metric comes in handy.
Minutes = (page views) x (avg time on page)
By adding a topline number to the conversation, the narrative is easier to understand, letting you focus on the "so what" rather than interpreting complicated numbers.
The minutes metric combines a qualitative picture of "how compelling is our content" with the quantitative picture of "how well are we reaching our audience".
"Total Minutes" gives an instant picture of whether the firm's thought leadership is on generally the right trajectory. It's comparable between time periods, different types of content and different authors. It's understandable for every level of your firm.
That being said it is not the only metric you should use.
Data and reporting are less about golden numbers or single, all illuminating metrics than they are about building an impression. Reporting is a narrative, it's an argument, built up over time that the efforts you are reporting on are worth your time.
The obvious next data point to add is a sample of the quality of the audience of those minutes. If you are capturing an audience for a given period, and you can offer a snapshot through LinkedIn or an email list or an attribution platform you build that next compelling step into the argument that thought leadership is worth the time and effort invested by the firm.