7 Must-Have Content Marketing Pieces for Executive Coaches
And how to start creating them today
By Amber Toal
For years, marketing experts have declared that content is king – and while they aren’t wrong, content is more than king. For Executive Coaches, it’s the hardest working resource in your marketing toolkit.
Unlike most other elements of marketing, a single piece of content marketing can serve many purposes at once:
- It establishes credibility and thought leadership
- It keeps you top-of-mind with prospects
- It allows you to share new ideas or ways of thinking
- It delivers free value to your prospects
- It serves as a lead generator when optimized for search
- It serves as a lead capture mechanism when gated behind a web form
And this isn’t even a complete list. Not to be dramatic, but let’s just say that in the B2B space—and specifically for Executive Coaches—content marketing is the end all, be all.
(Okay, that’s a bit dramatic—but you get my point).
But as is the case with anything of value, not all content is created equal. Different types and formats are better for different businesses, industries, functions, etc. So, what do you need as an Executive Coach?
Must-Have Content Marketing Pieces for Executive Coaches
As an Executive Coach, you’re selling your expertise, experience, mental models, and processes—and it’s important that your content marketing concisely-yet-engagingly conveys your value.
With these seven content marketing pieces, you’ll have everything you need to attract, engage, and convert prospects into loyal clients:
- A well-written executive bio
- Process overview
- Client testimonials
- Case studies
- Guest feature articles
- Video content
- Self-published blog posts
A well-written executive bio
The executive bio is arguably the most important content piece for Executive Coaches. When done well, it can eloquently detail your expertise and value in an engaging, persuasive manner. When done poorly, it can obfuscate your value, fail to engage readers, or create confusion as to what you do and who you do it for.
Your executive bio should detail your professional background and work history, education and certifications, specializations (either role/seniority, industry, function, coaching style, etc.) professional associations, industry awards and recognition, notable publication features, and, if/when permitted, notable clients you’ve worked with.
In addition to the professional focus, try to add a personal element as well.
Sharing a bit about your family, pets, or hobbies is the typical angle for adding a personal touch but try to be original. Include some unique or unexpected insights that humanize you and share a multi-dimensional perspective of who you are.
While you can certainly write your own executive bio, the best bios are written by a third-party. There is a growing niche of copywriters specializing solely in the art of bio writing who know how to write compelling, humanizing copy for different target audiences. While it might not seem like the highest priority expense, the value it delivers is worth the investment and your executive bio deserves the extra attention to detail.
Client testimonials provide influential sound bites straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak). If you don’t already, introduce a testimonial request into your post-engagement follow-up with clients to standardize the process of gathering client testimonials.
You can take it a step further by sharing some prompts to guide them in writing their testimonial. Here are some examples:
How has the coaching engagement changed the way you [relevant activity]?
What were the 2-3 biggest outcomes for you?
What part of the coaching engagement did you find the most value in?
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing prompts, choose two or three of your favorite client testimonials to share as examples. This will give them an idea of what you’re looking for without providing too much direction.
Case studies are one of the strongest pieces of content for bottom-funnel marketing. Once your prospects reach the consideration stage of the buying process, they’ll begin to compare your past client work with that of other prospective coaches.
The primary proof-of-concept that prospects will look for is your results, specifically outcomes and ROI. Unfortunately, creating ROI-based case studies for Executive Coaching engagements isn’t the easiest undertaking. Unless you’ve mastered the process of tying tangible and intangible outputs to key performance indicators of ROI, your case studies could come across as baseless or wishy-washy. Since ROI tracking isn’t an Executive Coaching industry standard (yet), there are some steps you can take to not only get this proof-of-concept, but more importantly, to explicitly demonstrate value to your clients.
When discussing goals and objectives for the coaching engagement with your client, work with them to tie those goals and objectives to either cost savings or revenue generation (or income generation for personal clients). Here’s an example of how this conversation could go:
Coach: What is your top objective for this coaching engagement?
Client: I would like to improve the dynamic within my division as well as my relationship with each of my direct reports.
Coach: If you achieve this objective, name one tangible outcome.
Client: Improved retention.
Coach: What is the average annual attrition rate and per-employee turnover cost for your division?
Client: Approximately 17% or 42 employees at $130,000 per employee
And just like that, you’ve identified a very real way to establish ROI and proof-of-concept, not only for your client but for a future case study as well. Schedule progress check-ins throughout the coaching engagement, then conduct a final, post-engagement review to confirm outcomes. This is only one example but there are increasingly ways to tie tangible and intangible outcomes to real dollar amounts.
In addition to results, prospects will also want to know if you’ve worked with clients similar to them, whether in the same industry, function, or coaching need (e.g. career advancement, leadership development, team function, etc.). Explicitly highlight these key points in each case study and be as detailed as possible about the challenge, the solution, and the results without revealing confidential information.
Note: it goes without saying that client privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance. Unless otherwise permitted by your client, avoid issues by using percentages rather than specific dollar amounts, avoid sharing any identifying information, and do not share any proprietary details about the engagement. If you aren’t sure what you’d feel comfortable sharing, discuss your intent with your client and see what they are willing to permit.
This is one of the most common missing content pieces for professional service providers everywhere, not just Executive Coaches.
The challenge is that buyers expect to understand—at least to a small degree—the what and the how of a product or service prior to purchase. This is especially true for high-ticket items. But it’s difficult to strike the right balance of providing enough information on your process without revealing any proprietary techniques or competitive advantages.
Consider how you can illustrate your coaching process in a way that answers key buyer questions and provides enough information that it avoids feeling vague or elusive. What are your prospects’ buying criteria? What will they need to know in order to decide if you’re the right Executive Coach for the job?
Expert tip: Share your process in a visual way rather than explaining it in a written paragraph. Studies show that 65% of the population are visual learners who learn best through visual communication.
Guest feature articles
Being published in a reputable industry publication is an instant credibility builder as the positive reputation of the publication inherently passes onto you as a featured expert.
In addition to growing your credibility as a thought leader, writing a guest feature in a popular publication can exponentially grow your reach to wider audiences, positively impacting your brand awareness.
The process for pitching and submitting guest articles varies by publication but generally consists of pitching your article to the editor with details of the topic, what perspective you’ll take in the article, and key takeaways. If approved, the editor will confirm acceptance and provide further direction for writing, submitting, and promoting your article.
Note that most publications accept only original, unpublished work so you will need to create new content specifically for this purpose. Afterward, you may be permitted to re-publish on your own blog or as a LinkedIn article so long as you include proper credit to the original publication. Something like “Article reposted with permission from [Original publication name]” with a link to the original article is often enough to meet republishing requirements.
If the publication does not allow republication, you still have some options. You can write an article that expands on a topic in the guest feature and link back to the original article. Or, you can simply write a short summary of the original article (2-3 paragraphs) with a link to it.
Expert tip: Discuss republishing permissions with the editor once your pitch is accepted. This will inform you ahead of time whether you’ll need to write any additional content for your own publishing needs and can do it all in one fell swoop.
According to a December 2021 study by Wyzowl, 94% of marketers say videos have helped their customers better understand their product or service while 86% say video has helped them generate leads.
Video is a powerful vehicle for complex ideas or concepts, especially when paired with visuals. It allows you to fully expand on something without requesting a lot in exchange from your viewers—no scrolling, no clicking, just watching and listening.
And when you record yourself talking into the camera, video also allows you to express your personality in a way that other media doesn’t. Your prospects can get a good sense of who you are, how you communicate, and how passionate you are about Executive Coaching. All in all, it’s one of the strongest marketing tools available to Executive Coaches.
It doesn’t need to be a major production, there are plenty of tools readily available to make high-quality content without a full video team. These days, filming on cell phones is a breeze with high resolution cameras and customizable settings. You can edit your video using native apps like Photos or iMovie, specialty apps found in app stores like Splice or Inshot, or browser-based video editing platforms like WeVideo, Lumen5, or Adobe Creative Cloud Express.
Self-published blog posts
Whether on your own blog or as a LinkedIn article, it’s important that you publish your own blog posts. Not only does this allow you to maintain ownership over your content, but it’s also a great channel for attracting, engaging, and converting Executive Coaching leads over longer periods of time.
As powerful as blog marketing can be, it can be time-consuming if you don’t have the right processes in place.
Blogging tips for independent Executive Coaches with little or no marketing support:
- Start by outlining a simple blog marketing plan. Define your goals, objectives, timelines, and blogging process. Select a set day each week to ideate, research, and write.
- Keep a running list of topics that are relevant to your ideal buyers and that also answers at least one buyer question.
- Make sure your content is optimized. There are tons of free keyword research tools like Ahref’s Free Keyword Generator, Keyword Sheeter, and Chrome extension Keyword Surfer to help you find relevant, high-potential keywords for your content.
- When you start to write, don’t focus on getting it perfect right away. As they say: write hot, edit cold. In other words, put words to paper and go back later to edit and refine.
- Include links to other pages on your website and to related content.
- Make sure to include a CTA at the end of your article. You’ve already captured readers’ interest, don’t forget to make your “ask” to get them to the next stage.
- Once you’ve edited and published, it’s time to promote your article! Share it to all of your channels (e.g. email, social, community groups, etc.) with a short blurb of what the article is about and what the takeaways are.
- Monitor your article’s performance and be sure to respond to all comments and questions from readers.
Blogging tips for Executive Coaching firms with marketing support:
- If you haven’t already, develop a blog marketing strategy that outlines your goals, objectives, timelines, roles and responsibilities, target audience(s), standard operating procedures, and promotion strategies.
- Create an editorial calendar that outlines each month’s content. Include details such as title, topic, author, content type and format, target audience, buyer stage, keywords, calls-to-action, related solutions or services, and URL. Save this editorial calendar in a centrally located place where all team members can access it as needed. Update it regularly.
- Source content from your internal experts. Ask them to write on a topic they’re discussing with clients during sales conversations and/or coaching engagements.
- Identify 2-3 goals for each new content piece. These goals could pertain to number of social shares, time-on-page, percentage of exits, or any number of engagement-related key performance indicators.
- Conduct thorough keyword research to identify primary and secondary keywords. Review “People also ask” data from Google to find tangential topics and keywords.
- Promote your article across relevant channels. Notify employees of the new content and ask them to share to their networks.
- Monitor performance and engage with readers. Review performance after one month using on-page analytics tools and Google Search Console to determine how the content performed against your goals.
The Content Executive Coaches Need to Have in Their Marketing Toolkit
While these are just seven types of content, there are many other types of content that work well for Executive Coach marketing but aren’t as easy to come by.
Original research, for example, is a powerful marketing asset but one that requires a lot of time and resources to create. Similar examples include books/ebooks and white papers.
By focusing on these seven must-have content marketing pieces, you can take your Executive Coach marketing efforts to new heights.