You’re probably thinking “it’s just not possible to plan a month of Instagram content in an hour”, but I promise you can. You just need a content strategy, a library of branded images and a ‘can do’ attitude.

Why you need a content strategy

Having a content strategy will supercharge your productivity, and you’ll focus on the things that will really move the needle in your business.

I always used to create content on the fly. I’d scroll through my photo albums in the desperation to find a suitable image. 

When I found something, I would sit on the couch at 8 pm frantically wracking my brain for something witty or interesting to say.

I didn’t have a clear idea of who I was speaking to and who my ideal client was. So as you can imagine, by the time I posted my photo onto Instagram by 9 pm, all I heard was crickets.

I was too late posting. The image didn’t look consistent with the rest of my grid. I had no idea who I was talking to, so it’s no wonder I never booked a client from Instagram. 

At the time, I felt I was putting effort into it, but in fact, the “effort” was simply stress and overwhelm of what to post and what to say. 

For your business to survive and thrive on Instagram, you need to have a strategy. 

Without one, your customers will feel lost, your products or pitches will feel unfocused, and the purpose behind your business will be vague and obscure. 

how-to-plan-content-instagram

What kind of content should I be creating on Instagram?

Your content should always be trying to do one of three things for your business, and that is to drive sales, grow your following or connect with your ideal clients.

Grow – posts that will get your audience to engage, tag friends and want to share. i.e. viral posts, memes, quotes.

Sell – a direct call to action to buy your products, i.e. images of your products/services.

Connect – builds a relationship with your audience to create that know, like and trust factor. i.e. testimonials, where you’ve been featured.

If you run a service-based business, you can show each process of your business and walk your prospective clients through each stage so they would know what to expect if they booked in with you. 

Show your daily routine, or what success looks like to you. How does your business differ from others already out there? I often find that for most people, their ideal client is typically themselves and quite often, the things you enjoy, your followers will too. 

If you have a product-based business, you could show how you make your product and why it is different from other similar products or brands on the market.

People still buy from people, so give your brand a face and connect with your customers. 

You’ll give more credibility to your brand, and your audience will feel like they are buying from a real person rather than a faceless brand.

Before posting anything, you want to ask yourself how it will drive sales, provide value, build a relationship with your audience or get your more followers or engagement. At its core, how will it serve your intended audience? What do you want them to know and what action do you want them to take?

Creating content themes to plan your content

In terms of visual content, you want to list the key themes around your business and the types of content you want to create for your audience. 

As an example, my content themes are business, branding, Instagram and product photography. I also share snippets of life behind the scenes as a branding photographer so my audience can get to know me. 

Once you have your themes, it’s super easy to find all the content you need for the upcoming month.

Batching your Instagram posts

Head over to Answer The Public and type in the keyword related to each content theme. For example, I might want to type in “branding”. 

Within seconds, you’ll have a ton of Instagram post ideas based on questions people have searched relating to your theme.

Along with these questions, I have also put together 40 content ideas that will help spark ideas.

Click on the link below to download your cheat sheet now.

40-killer-content-ideas-for-instagram

Batching your Instagram posts

Once you have all your post ideas, it’s time to map them out onto your calendar. To do this, write down how many times you want to post a week and multiple this by 4. 

For example, if you want to post five times a week, you would do 5×4 = 20. So you know you need 20 Instagram posts. 

Create a list from 1-20 (or however many posts you need that month) and then pop in your content themes, making sure you rotate them to keep things exciting and varied. 

Planning your images and captions

Note down the images you need and make three bullet points for each idea’s caption. In doing so, you’ll easily be able to batch the process of taking or finding images and writing captions later on. 

For example, you might need:

4 x personal branding images
5 x product images
4 x behind the scenes photos
3 x user-generated content (images your clients have taken)
4 x graphics for testimonials and quotes

If you have had a brand photoshoot, you can easily pull four images from your image library and upload these into a scheduling app such as Planoly or Tailwind. You can do the same for your product and behind the scenes images. 

You can use canvas to create beautiful graphics for testimonials. By making all the graphics you need for the upcoming month, you will save a ton of time by not switching between tasks. 

If you haven’t booked a brand shoot, I highly recommend finding a photographer who specialises in product and personal branding photography. They’ll understand the kind of images you need to build your brand so you’ll have a library of images you can pull from when scheduling your content.

Read more: The importance of personal branding
Read more: The beauty product photography guide 2021

Schedule and publish your Instagram content

Using your scheduling app, you want to move your images, so the themes rotate, and your grid looks well balanced. You can then write in your full-length caption using the bulleted list as the foundation.

Read more: How to create irresistible Instagram headlines