We’re all looking at metrics to determine the reach and impact of our content online. But your best content will develop a life of its own, free from boundaries of your website and may become the hardest for you to track.
For example, Google has changed its ranking emphasis from a focus on links to your site to content that is shared. So your content can actually work hardest for you when it is in use off of your website.
Tools like paper.li (See related post: Create Your Own Newsletter with a Few Clicks) allow people to pull your content into topical e-newsletters. Since most people are scanners, they many never click through to get to the full content at your site. Your great content (well, headline at least) is hitting many eyeballs away from your tracking mechanisms.
Then there are Siri and Google Now. When people ask these and other voice-activated search services, the information is gathered from authoritative sources and served up without the user ever going to your website. In many cases, the user will never know the information provided even came from your website.
It’s clear to me that increasingly our great content is going to be harvested and shared outside the borders of our own online properties. This will further challenge communicators as we seek to quantify the impact of the content we create and share.