How, oh how, do I create great Instagram content without spending HOURS on it? It’s a struggle many Instagrammers will understand.
For some, writing comes easy and taking or selecting the right imagery is a struggle. For others, it’s the other way around. And then there’s the lucky few who are a dab hand at both.
But no matter where your skills lie, every Instagrammer wishes they knew the secret to (consistently) creating great Instagram content in less time.
Is it even possible to create a month’s worth of great Instagram content without spending three whole days, consuming a million cups of coffee and questioning (again) whether the word “very” is actually a word?
I can’t promise you won’t drink lots of caffeine. But in this article, I can promise to help you streamline your existing content process and arm you with the tools to create great Instagram content (and increase your engagement!) in less time.
Speaking of time… let’s not waste any more and get straight into the tips.
How to Create Great Instagram Content In Less Time
Get clear on your content buckets
Content buckets, pillars, themes – no matter what you call them, it’s important to get crystal clear on the topics you’re going to talk about on Instagram on a regular basis.
Until you do, creating great Instagram content will feel like trying to wade through mud.
Choose these buckets based on what will help your target audience, where your expertise lies, and what you want to be known for. I’d recommend starting with three content buckets. For example:
- A skincare brand: Skincare Tips, Behind-The-Scenes, Natural Living
- A healthcare coach: Mindset, Time Management, Empowerment
- A wedding photographer: Wedding Photography Tips, My Photography Experience, Being Present and Enjoying the Moment
Try not to over think these! They can be as broad or as specific as you like, and you can change them over time, depending on what resonates with your audience most.
Start with three to give yourself some structure. This will make coming up with fresh ideas every month so much simpler.
Have a living “ideas bank”
Speaking of fresh ideas, tip #2 is to create a living document that you can add ideas to on an on-going basis. Welcome to your new “ideas bank”.
This could be a word doc, Google Doc, or it could be a tool like Evernote. The idea is that it’s somewhere to regularly add the following:
- Snippets of DM/email conversations you have with your target audience about things they’re struggling with (related to what you do)
- Positive reviews/testimonials you receive
- New facts and stats
- Milestones you reach
- Trials/triumphs you go through that relate to your business/your outlook
- Tools/processes/apps you’re currently loving and why
When you add these things into your ideas bank, they don’t have to be fully formed content ideas. They can be rough notes.
Doing this regularly means that when you come to sit down and actually start creating your next batch of Instagram content, you will have an endless source of inspiration to pull from.
You won’t be sat there scratching your head wondering what on earth to post about.
Instead, you’ll have your target audience’s struggles that you can answer with informative, helpful content. And, you can use the exact language they use to have more of an impact.
You’ll have notes about a business-related struggle you experienced a few weeks ago, and now you can create a post about what you’ve learned and how it’s made you a better entrepreneur.
There’ll be a positive testimonial that you can copy and paste directly into an upcoming caption about why you love working with the people you do.
Half the battle of creating great Instagram content in less time is coming up with the ideas in the first place. So remove that struggle by having a living ideas document that you add to all month long.
Batch create your images and your captions
We all know it makes sense, but how often do we actually sit down to batch create Instagram content?
Probably not as often as we think we will, before we realise it’s the middle of the month again and we’ve spent the last two weeks scrabbling to find an image and writing a caption the same day as hitting publish…
With your content buckets selected and your ideas bank full of inspiration, sitting down to create your next one, two, or four weeks’ worth of content, captions and hashtags in one sitting should be a whole lot simpler.
The secret to batch creating, is to figure out a process that works for you.
You may not be someone that likes to batch create an entire months’ worth of content at once, because you like to monitor what’s resonating with your audience on a weekly basis.
Or, you may be someone that likes to batch create an entire months’ worth of content at once because your schedule doesn’t allow for content creation every single week.
There is no right or wrong approach. As long as you’re able to batch create Instagram content regularly enough so that you’re posting consistently and not sporadically.
To help you achieve that, make sure you have a selection of images to pull from so that you’re not constantly chasing your tail trying to take new photos.
Put aside an afternoon to take photos of you, flat-lays, your location, products. Mark it in your calendar and get it done so that you have a bank of images to use for the next few months without having to think twice about it.
While you’re at it, add a recurring diary reminder (if you haven’t already) every one/two/four weeks’ so that you’re notified when it’s time to sit down and batch create your Instagram content.
Having a set amount of focused time to batch create your Instagram content will save you so much time in the long run. Compare that to the time you spend browsing, selecting, and editing an image and then drafting the caption when you do so on an ad-hoc basis. Collectively over the month? It’s a lot of time.
That’s why getting into the routine of batch creating will help you to create engaging Instagram content in less time.
And you might even start to enjoy the process! Looking for Insta tools to help you along the way?
Set up templates on Canva
As well as photographs and videos, you might also share graphics (infographics, text graphics, quotes) as part of your Instagram content strategy.
To speed up the process of designing these graphics, create a set of templates on Canva for types of content you know you’ll share again and again.
The benefit of doing this is twofold.
First, it will prevent you from having to recreate designs or think up something original every time. Second, by having an overview of your graphics, you’ll have a clearer view of whether you’re maintaining brand consistency throughout your content.
This is essential if you want to meet and exceed your audience’s expectations, and increase brand awareness.
You might already have some Canva templates set up. If not, spend some time creating a few different versions depending on the types of content you share.
- Top tips
- Words of wisdom
- Step-by-step process
- A quote
Getting these made in advance will take a bit of forward planning.
But once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to create consistently great Instagram content in less time.
Repurpose content you’ve shared elsewhere
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to be an endless source of original, fresh ideas!
Work smarter, not harder. And by that, I mean repurpose content you’re creating elsewhere to feed into your Instagram content strategy.
Do you write blog posts? Weekly emails? Facebook posts? Scripts for a podcast? Scripts for YouTube videos?
If you said yes to any of those, then congratulations! You’ve got yourself a fantastic source of Instagram content.
One blog could be turned into a condensed Instagram carousel. Or, it could be spread across multiple standalone Instagram posts/videos.
That insightful one-liner shared in your latest weekly email? That could be turned into a text graphic.
The YouTube script you wrote last week could be repurposed into 5 Instagram Story “mini trainings”.
Don’t reinvent the wheel and give yourself extra work. You can, and should, repurpose your content across multiple platforms.
Don’t think you’re being repetitive or lazy by doing so. It’s called smart marketing.😉
For a start, repurposing your content helps reinforce your brand message. Bombarded by messages from hundreds of different brands and businesses every single day, people need to see the same message at least 7 times before they actually hear it.
And, people aren’t active on every platform all of the time. Just because you’ve shared some top tips in your latest email, doesn’t mean you can’t also share them on your Instagram.
You may have some active email subscribers that don’t check social media as often, and vice versa.
So, keep sharing that content across multiple platforms for maximum impact!
And in doing so, you’ll be able to create great Instagram content in less time.
Don’t be afraid to reshare old content
Are you noticing a theme here?
Yup, you guessed it. The theme is to make your life easier.
Because the secret to savvy marketing and creating great Instagram content in less time is about being resourceful with the content you already have.
Take a look over the content you’ve shared over the last 3 – 6 months and ask yourself these questions:
- What performed well that I could share again (perhaps with a slightly different design)?
- What performed well that I could turn into a carousel or a different kind of image?
- Is there any content within the caption of a well-performing post that could be pulled out and turned into a graphic?
- Could any of the comments on my top performing posts serve as inspiration for a new post?
- Could some of the top performing posts be stitched together into a new carousel?
- What top performing posts can I turn into Instagram Stories or a video series?
Your Instagram followers won’t remember that you shared something similar a few months ago.
And they definitely won’t be scrolling back down your timeline to double check whether this is content they’ve seen before because they just don’t care enough… which is great news for you!
In fact, any good Instagram strategy is built on experimentation, analysing, tweaking and optimising.
If you’re not doing that, then you’re not allowing yourself the opportunity to get better and to serve your audience more of the kinds of content they love.
So before you start to think of all the “new” things you could create, try looking at all the great content you’ve already shared.
Share main-feed content on your Stories
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of creating great Instagram main-feed content AND Instagram Stories content in less time, then fear not…
I’ve got you!
For starters, your Instagram Stories content shouldn’t be a separate strategy from your main-feed content strategy.
They can, and should, feed into each other.
I bet your last Instagram post could be turned into at least three (if not double that!) Instagram Stories.
Yes, you might need to consider the images/videos you’d share to bring that post to life via Stories, but that should take no time at all now you know what it will be about.
For example, let’s take a look at my most recent (at time of writing) Instagram post:
Voir cette publication sur Instagram
Repeat after me: 𝗜’𝗺 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗿𝘂𝗽𝘁. That’s exactly what you’re doing every time you show up on Instagram Stories.👋 You’re interrupting your ideal customer’s daily swiping habit with YOUR message, YOUR voice, YOUR unique view of the world and YOUR expertise… … it’s the best kind of interruption.🚨 And if you’re not making it, then how are you planning to have an impact? 🤔🤔🤔 🤷♀️How are you planning to connect more, grow more, sell more? Because whatever the answer, I know that it will happen so much faster if you take to Instagram Stories and start connecting with your community. BUT, if you find Stories a 🤦minefield🤦 this post is for you. Save it for later. Share it with someone who loves some free strategy (ummmm, who doesn’t?). And then get creating your next killer Instagram Story! Your customers are waiting. **** What tip (1-6) are you DEFINITELY implementing moving forwards?👇
Now, let’s turn that into three Instagram Stories.
Below are the notes/text I would include per segment. The next stage would be to figure out whether I’d say the text out loud face-to-camera, or paste it as text on a coloured background.
Story Idea #1 Plan
- Segment 1: Want to know one of the most important factors to creating great Instagram Stories?
- Segment 2: Do you reckon its: A) Telling A Story or B) Sharing Cool Visuals [add in a poll sticker to allow people to choose]
- Segment 3: You may be surprised to hear that it’s actually A! So why is telling a story SO important?
- Segment 4: Your IG Story is like any good book or film. If you don’t have a good beginning, middle and end, people will swipe away
- Segment 5: Let’s go through that step-by-step…
- Segment 6: Start your Story with a compelling hook to give people a reason to keep watching
- Segment 7: Deliver on the goods in the middle. Share the tips, tell the story succinctly, add in some examples
- Segment 8: Wrap it up neatly with a bow and watch your Story engagement skyrocket! Ideally within 12 segments (any more and you increase the chances of people swiping away)
- Segment 9: That’s it! Did you find that useful? [Add in poll sticker]
Story Idea #2 Plan
- Segment 1: Today I thought I’d share a quick mini training on how to create compelling Instagram Stories!
- Segment 2: By the end of these 6 tips, you’ll be raring to create Instagram Stories that keep your viewers hooked from beginning to end… Let’s go!
- Segment 3: Tip 1 – Plan! (add some short explainer info)
- Segment 4: Tip 2 – Tell a story! (add some short explainer info)
- Segment 5: Tip 3 – Stickers! (add some short explainer info)
- Segment 6: Tip 4 – Add value! (add some short explainer info)
- Segment 7: Tip 5 – Subtitles! (add some short explainer info)
- Segment 8: Tip 6 – Short/sweet! (add some short explainer info)
- Segment 9: That’s a wrap! How are you feeling about sitting down to create your next Instagram Story? [Add in emoji slider]
Story Idea #3 Plan
- Segment 1: This is why you HAVE to be on Instagram Stories (no ifs… no buts…)
- Segment 2: Stories isn’t a fad. It’s not a phase. It’s where your clients and customers are spending most of their time.
- Segment 3: Don’t believe me? What’s the first thing YOU do when you open up your Instagram app?
- Segment 4: Exactly 😉
- Segment 5: Just like you, your customers and clients start every single Instagram session swiping through their Stories. So you need to be there – interrupting them with your message!
- Segment 6: “But Bella! How can I do this in a compelling, unmissable way?” Ah, I’m so pleased you ask. Here are 6 handy tips to get you creating dazzling Stories in no time.
- Segment 7: [Share main-feed post onto Stories] Click here to check them out!
See how easy that was? And it didn’t require any brain power apart from thinking about how to re-share content I’d already written in a slightly different way.
Making your content work harder: That’s the secret to creating great Instagram content in less time.
Being able to create great Instagram content in less time is all about setting yourself up for success BEFORE you actually come to sit down and create any content.
Set up an Ideas Bank and start adding thoughts and ideas in there on a regular basis. Design some templates in Canva for content you know you’ll share again and again (tips, testimonials, etc.) to save yourself having to start from scratch every single time. And grab any other content you’ve created recently for other platforms to repurpose for Instagram.
Doing these things will streamline your content creation process and improve your engagement rate. There will be no head-scratching and no staring at a blank screen wondering when inspiration will strike. You will be a master at creating great Instagram content in less time.