Ideas & Insights

B2B Content Marketing Strategy Checklist

A big, fat, roll-up-your-sleeves guide for B2B marketers


Content marketing used to be a secret weapon used by the smartest marketers. Now it’s the default setting used by just about everybody.

What does this mean for you?


It means you can’t just shoot from the hip any more.
Now you need to take aim and get strategic.

B2B Content Marketing Strategy Checklist
That’s what The Content Marketing Strategy Checklist is all about: helping you get strategic about your content program so your stuff hits the target and you maximise your Return on Content.

Do it right and you’ll earn more traffic, drive more conversions, improve your search rankings and build a formidable content brand (one of the most precious assets a B2B marketer can create).

What’s inside

  • A step-by-step content strategy guide – with quick templates and checklists on the things that matter most, including:
    – Goals, target audiences, buying stages and trigger event
    – Finding your content strategy ‘Sweet Spot’ (do you know yours?
    – SEO keyphrases and editorial calendars
  •  Content strategy for your very next piece of content covering things like:
    – Topics, media and information sources
    – Promotion, atomization and lead nurturing
    – Measurement, testing and learning
  • A running case study that shows you how we answered all these critical questions for The Content Marketing Strategy Checklist itself.
  • Five principles of great content marketing strategy to help guide your own programs.


Go on, download it.

Now a favour:

Once you’ve read the Content Strategy Checklist, please leave a comment below.
We’re eager to hear your experiences with content marketing and to learn if the checklist helped you or could be better (or both). Thanks!


Feedback on our last eBook, The B2B Marketing Manifesto:

“I love this! Clear, witty, and concise.”
Peter O’Neill, Forrester Research

“Bravo! Love it, love it, love it. This e-book needs to be required reading for everyone in B2B marcom and marketing.”
Diana Huff, B2B Marcom Writer blog

“Any B2B marketers looking for guidance as they plot their course should be inspired by your bold statements.”
Stephanie Tilton, Savvy B2B Marketer

“Glad to see you continue to practice what you preach.”
Ashley Friedlein, Econsultancy

“What a great read! The words ring loud and true and not only that, but the reader can take away some concrete actions.”
Michael Brenner, B2B Marketing Insider

111 Responses to “B2B Content Marketing Strategy Checklist”

  1. Mike Randall

    A great workbook to think through. While straightforward, it makes you answer the obvious questions that have not been addressed before.

  2. Andrew Leon Walker

    Been a fan since I read the B2B Content Marketing Workbook and again, you haven’t disappointed.

    Well done, you keep raising the bar

  3. Bob Apollo

    A brilliant, clearly structured approach to creating compelling content. Any organisation that follows these guidelines will inevitably attract, engage, qualify and convert many more of the right sort of prospects, while having fun and standing out from the crowd. Top marks!

  4. Doug Kessler

    Mike, Andrew & Bob — THANKS for your early validation.

    I get a bit nervous whenever we release a new piece to the market and your kind words really made my day!

  5. Kieran Flanagan

    This really is an amazing piece of content. A complete roadmap to success. Everything you need to implement a killer content strategy for your company is mapped out in this piece in a really logical fashion. It’s a must have for anyone looking to grow both their traffic and their sales.

    Well done guys !!

  6. Ed Noles

    Strong stuff, and good to see content promotion included as part of the planning and strategy. Are there some links at the bottom of page 25 that were intended to be functional? Minor stuff…

  7. Doug Kessler

    Thanks Kieran — you made my month!

    And thanks Ed — for catching those broken links! Much appreciated. Fix imminent.

  8. Gary Preston

    This is excellent Doug. You had me at check-list but the book is so much more. It’s jumped straight to the top of our team’s must reads. Every team is going to find a copy of this on their desks this morning ready for discussion in our next academy session.

  9. Robin Davies

    Love this. Love it. Makes me feel excited about my job again. This isn’t just educational it’s actionable. You guys deserve every success.

  10. Gillian Morris-Talbot

    This is a really useful tool. A very thorough “pense-bête” (French for reminder or memory jogger – literally “think-stupid”). Well done and thank you. You just made my life easier. :-)

  11. Valeri Gungor

    Very well done! I particularly like the integration of the best of user experience, content strategy and content marketing. I’ll explore the workbook and manifesto during the next week or so. Thanks!

  12. Ari Echt

    Very helpful. The velocity examples at the bottom of each page were much appreciated to help visualize what you described above.

  13. Danielle Stitt

    Love this book. There is a lot of theory out there but fabulous to be stepped through the ‘how to’. Of course the tricky thing is the doing…

  14. Raquel Roman

    Very pleased to get great information in such a comprehensive guide! thanks

  15. Jim Gallant

    Well done, gentlemen and ladies. Practical as sin and fun to read.

  16. Chris Rand

    Tremendous. Love the examples of how you’d apply each page to your own marketing. Blogging about this to the world next week!

  17. Louis

    Great job. How do analysts, journalists & evangelists fit into your persona roles? Are they just another target audience even though you don’t want them to buy?

  18. Doug Kessler

    Thanks Raquel and Jim — much appreciated.

    Chris, thanks and let us know when you blog.

    Louise – Yes, we do make personas for analysts/bloggers/influencers and treat them as a target audience (though often not the prime target).

    Natalie — huge compliment coming from you — we love your work!

  19. Stephanie Tilton

    Doug – I love the content that Velocity churn outs and this one’s no exception. This guide is straightforward, practical, yet full of personality — just like you you fellows at Velocity!

  20. Dave Vranicar

    This is the best, most concise and practical guide I’ve seen for people who want to do effective B2B content marketing.

    Not only is the content helpful, but the visual design helps readers digest the key points quickly.

    It’s every bit as good as the other outstanding content produced by Velocity Partners. And it’s got likable personality gushing from every pore.

    Why don’t more B2B companies consider “likability” and “helpfulness” as essential elements of their brand?

    Thanks for VP for another great example of how to do it right.

  21. Doug Kessler

    Thanks Stephanie and Dave!
    I do think a bit of personality is hugely under-rated (and under-practiced) in B2B.
    Glad it hit the mark.
    (The danger is always that you might stray over the line into ‘cute’ We hate cute.)

  22. James Dean Waryk

    This is a great website. You guys do good work! I am guessing you developed the website yourself? What a fantastic way to build a Double Opt-In list! This makes for a good case study.

    James Dean Waryk

  23. Glenn PICKETT

    100% believer that content is king. The recent actions of Google prove this. Having a sequence of check lists is a great way of achieving objectives. A key stage is getting buy-in so that content is created on time and willingly. Thanks for a useful tool. (I’m dedicated to creating just that for other marketing & sales activities).

  24. Andy Place

    Sorry for the delay in responding Doug but i’m a really slow reader. This is great because you’ve taken a very complex thing and made it simple not easy to do bravo!..I also enjoyed the word piffle. A* to the Velocity school of marketing.

  25. Doug Kessler

    James — yes, we did our own website — thanks for noticing! (And opting in!)

    Glenn – I agree with the importance of buy-in. We do a workshop before any major content marketing program that helps get key stakeholders up to speed.

    Andy – Thanks. Slow readers are the best readers. And yes, the word piffle is addictive.

  26. Peter Duncan

    Sitting in a Moscow hotel waiting for my customer to show – and you’ve kept me engaged for 15 minutes AND made me watch your video… just when I thought I’d got my content from hopeless to reasonable, oh dear, MORE work. Thank you.

  27. John Bottom

    Hey Doug
    It’s surprising that so many people are talking about content marketing, but there aren’t so many people going about it in a sensible, structured way. This is the kind of guide that helps to correct that imbalance. Not only that, but the reaction from the people above proves the effectiveness of the your own content marketing – so it’s not only a guide but a great case study of how these things can work really well if done properly. And that’s coming from a competitor :-)
    Cheers, John

  28. Doug Kessler

    Thanks John — you’re always really generous with your feedback. Much appreciated. We need more ‘gentleman competitors’ in this game!

    And how did you do that smiley emoticon?

  29. Colm Toolan

    @Stan Woods

    IMHO, the style you use in your follow-up nurturing mail is way too odd ball to work!
    You’ll never get me to do *any* of those things – especially not post a comment – using language like that!

    Cheers, Colm

  30. Stan

    Ha! our evil plan is working. Take this as a profuse apology. B2B marketing as you rightly point out should never be odd ball. Heaven forfend that we should ever be accused of that.

  31. Nick Gallop

    A very helpful, systematic approach. Bravo.

  32. Erica Williams

    A very useful workbook and I will be taking some time to go through it properly myself and also with my colleagues.

  33. Erin Paulson

    Thank you for creating this and sharing with the B2B Marketing community. Velocity has been able to integrate a number of different components to content marketing success, summarize into a visually appealing and easy to follow guide, and take the fear out of what can be an overwhelming process. Bravo and well done!!

  34. John Waddy

    This is an amazing work of art that succinctly captures what content marketing is all about. Thanks for such great work!

  35. Ruth Webber

    It’s big and fat and packed with valuable info. The style and presentation makes it easy and fun to read (if not to put in practice). Velocity is again practising what it preaches.

  36. Amanda Armstrong

    Thanks so much for this! It has been really helpful :)

    I have a question regarding the different matrices and the editorial calendar/schedule…where do you begin and how do you piece all of these different documents together? I have the target buying stages and trigger events which I started and now I am drafting an editorial calendar. I like the idea of the trigger events, but is it necessary to do both the buying stages matrix and the trigger events matrix? And when you have both of these how do you tie this in to the calendar? ….thanks!

  37. Doug Kessler

    Thanks Nick, Erica, Rod, Erin, John & Ruth — much appreciated!

    No, you don’t need to do the Trigger Events matrix as well as the Buying Stages.
    Sometimes we do both — but often one or the other takes precedence.

    For bigger projects, we might have two or three Editorial Calendars, each with a different view. So there might be one that looks at all content by target audience; another by topic or product; another by issue or trigger event. It helps us see that we’ve covered everything we set out to cover in the Goals and Target Audiences sections.

    In general, all the lists are guides — use them if they’re helpful and leave them out if not.

  38. bob hendriks

    Exactly what I needed to convince my peers and VP’s who still think products and sales are all you need to be successful, and marketing is a necessity that binds the two together. Not in this day and age!

  39. Claire Barker

    Love it. Slapping this on the desk in our digital workshop tomorrow. This will really get us talking and thinking. I’m actually quite excited!

  40. dan

    nice shot Chuck and a good way to enhance the day to day work to be done especially for juniors , the whole pict and some nice draws … you make it !

  41. Peter Abraham

    Another cracking content marketing piece from Velocity, I must have missed it first time round. The Editorial Calendar takes me back to my publishing days, who’d have thought clients would ever need to use one. Love the graphics, the atomisation graphic particularly since a visual representation is the best way to explain anything that’s complex, and atomisation is…

  42. Ken Roberts

    Great piece. The checklist is excellent. I like that you include Outbound along with Search and Social. Also, we don’t see the word, “piffle” enough these days. Thanks!

  43. Sigita

    Well…here in the B2B marketing, we all know that it’s never “sexy”, but the truth is, it’s going to outgrow the traditional marketing at some point.

    In the Baltic States, we still have shortage of clear, up to date and innovatively presented information that would actually be useful.

    The simple, yet really helpful guides presented by the cool marketinians here are useful.

    Good job, guys! Thanks a lot

  44. Natalia

    WOW Thank you so much. This will help me a lot. I’m starting with my first Startup that is a Marketing B2B Agencie in Argentina, and I think that is the first one in Latin América, and with all these big contents that you are creating will help me a lot to make to understant to the companies what is the difference between the traditional marketing (for them Marketing B2C) and the Marketing B2B Thanks a lot!

  45. Ed Johnson

    A thought-provoking document that could be used to develop actionable marketing plans — plans that put customer-centric, content-based strategy at the centre of the planning process(note UK spelling here — some of us Yanks are sensitive to our audiences :) ).

  46. Lucinda Brook

    A really useful workbook for people who get content marketing, packed with useful reminders and hints and tips about all the things you know you should be doing but probably aren’t… all delivered in a style that makes you smile. Nice one Velocity.

  47. @Net_Hues

    Just tweeted this with my thought: EXCELLENT.
    Great to see you discussing Content Marketing in a context which goes beyone Video!

  48. Nikita

    This is great – I’ve printed a copy and will be handing it out to colleagues to get them to fill in. Time for us to hone in and focus on our B2B marketing strategies, and this will be the tool we use!

  49. Deb Staiger

    Thanks for the B2B checklist. I like the simple steps with nice graphics to help me quickly find the information on a specific topic. I printed a copy, while it sat for a minute at the printer, someone had already started to glance over it. Looking forward to using it in 2013!

  50. Des Gray

    Absolutely Priceless… well done guys, and thanks for putting this together and sharing it. Great checklist and thought starter for marketing and connecting with audience. Every business should have a copy! Thanks again!

  51. Dan Bradley

    This is both an excellent “how-to” guide for B2B content marketers and a fine example of content marketing itself. (Suggestion: Print out the “Five Parting Principles” and post it in every cubicle, office and meeting room where content marketers think.) I also enjoyed the document’s design and bits of humor throughout. Thanks Velocity!

  52. Doug Kessler

    Thanks so much John, Deb, Kris, Des, Dan… and all comments above.
    Much appreciated.
    We worked hard on this one and it’s fantastic to know it’s helping fellow content marketers.

  53. Tiina Saaristo

    Thank you! This is a very practical document, and I’m looking forward to putting it to work in 2013. I’m so glad that a thread of content led me here.

  54. Colette

    Does anyone know where the download link is gone? I can fill in my information but I can;t see a link to then download it

  55. Colette

    Sorry, ignore my last comment, I refreshed the page and the Submit button appeared :-)

  56. Sarah

    jolly good read. love the voice. great tactical guide to developing a strategy. Well done!!

  57. Marc Honorof

    The very fact that I clicked, landed, read and commented, shows just how effective a good content strategy works. One of the best resources I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot!
    Very well done…thanks!

  58. Tiina Saaristo

    Thank you for this checklist! It is extremely practical, and my colleagues and I also appreciated the way it was written. Now we only need to put this into practice!

  59. Kirk

    Very useful checklist, and really liked how you had forms for me to fill out in addition to just the top level idea.

  60. susanne

    This is a very valuable checklist that covers all area’s of Content Marketing. Allot of work though, even with the helpful forms provided in this document. I would say out source parts of the work you are not so good at. That leaves you to concentrate on the bits you rock in yourself. If you are willing to put the time and effort in, you’re content marketing strategy is set-up for success. Great list of resources and helpful forms that help to crack your mind :-)

  61. Luella Ben Aziza

    I hope my competitors don’t read this :-D

  62. Harry Zelenka Martin

    Really interesting and stimulating questions posed and answered. This checklist has given me a deeper understanding of how to market current projects, thanks very much velocity, fantastic job.

  63. Ryan Sauer

    Great job. Can’t wait to see the content that comes out about the ROI and outcomes of this.

  64. Dr Surya Pandey

    A great read. Liked your presentation. In fact, I am going to make use of it in one of my tutorials for my Agribusiness management students and examine how it relates to New Zealand agribusiness sector, and how the take-home messages relate to New Zealand scenarios. Kind regards.

  65. Caroline

    Really good advice, useful for all people struggling to break through that barrier.

  66. Rose

    Very helpful and easy to read, I will make good use of this.

  67. Sarah Mitchell

    Thanks for this great gift, Doug. It’s really thorough and includes a few things I’ve missed on my own checklist. I ask for goals but never thought to suggest some of the important goals for a client. That will definitely expand the conversation and help me get a better result.

  68. Kirsten Meyer

    I read this previously but just came back to it. What I’m loving:

    -tone / style
    -incredible spirit of generosity
    -entirely useful content
    -fun to read presentation

    Thank you!

  69. Beau

    Love your content. “Your design is my style”

    Grammar Error Found: Page 2
    You forgot an “is”

    This *is the era of
    Content Strategy
    and it will separate the pros from
    the amateurs.

  70. Karen McKeown

    Nice to have all these tips in one place. Very comprehensive! And, you are achieving at least 4 of your goals with me – a comment, I’m going to now go download the B2B guides, and will share too

  71. Irit Porat

    Discovered this only now. Your content (marketing) is great as always: interesting, engaging, useful… Wonderful tone of voice :-) Thanks!

  72. Cherise Hardy

    Really useful guide for creating a successful content marketing strategy – thanks very much!

  73. Serge

    This checklist is awesome!
    I liked your language=)

    Very comprehensive and inspirational. I guess, it barely lacks anything. It’s so consistent and has a lot of details. Maybe only one thing, more factual examples.

    Thanks for an amazing info!

  74. John

    I have to say that.I don’t do that much but you guys, you are really amazing.You solved my problem, your brand created awaraness for me and trust me, i will share your articles everywhere!

  75. Anne Marie English

    Thanks for being so practical, clear and concise. In a world of information overload, it’s great to come across a cut-through step-by-step guide like this.

  76. Stine Halmind

    I have the pleasure of having just recently discovered my unknown passion for blogging and content marketing, and it is amazing discoevering the infinite heaps of good advice that is out there. But the best thing is coming across something that I feel speaks directly to me – and that’s the case with this Checklist! I love the layout, too! Although, I might have spent a little less space on the funny headlines and a little more on making the text-bits easier to read ;-)

  77. Allison Ellis

    So often you know what you need to do, but having it laid out step by step in this format is invaluable. Thanks!

  78. Audrey Fischer

    Love the ebook, thanks for sharing! Just wanted to make one suggestion – since it’s a printable book, maybe the separating pages shouldn’t be full-color, since we try and preserve ink. Thanks again for the great guide!

  79. Bettina Brandt

    Had to leave some feedback…. All positive! Clear, simply put, excellent graphics that are engaging. Thank you for sharing!

  80. Anthea Blanas

    Excellent resource, loved the content audit approach! Thank you for creating & sharing!

  81. Akin Ladapo

    Browsed through and it’s really good comprehensive, step by step guide, with best practices that simplifies a broad and complicated topic.

  82. Corey

    Excellent guide and very comprehensive. A great place to really organize and strategize a thorough marketing plan. Thank you very much.

  83. ROy

    I just want to thank you folks at VM for this incredible resource. My company has dabbled in content marketing for a while, but this guide is helping us become strategic about it.

    Cheers, and keep up the great work.

  84. SImon

    Amongst other things, I teach marketing to undergrads and I want to commend you on one of the best, most insightful and practical docs I’ve seen in a very long time. I hope you don’t mind but I will pass this on (with full credit) to as many as I can. Collaboration is king, and you’ve proven that by sharing this. Well done!

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