The article has been updated. First published April 29, 2020
Instagram promotion without a content plan is equal to traveling without a route. In this case, it will take you much longer to get to your goal.
Why do you need a content plan at all and is it really possible to do without it?
Before drawing up a content plan, you need to understand what the overall goal of your Instagram promotion is:
Direct sale – this option is suitable for commercial accounts – shops, beauty salons. You do not hide what and for what price you will sell. The course from SMM.School “Sales on Instagram: Secrets of Professionals” will help you to understand this in more detail.
Traffic – in this case, the task is to attract people to the required resource. In the future, some subscribers will become customers, but the emphasis is not on selling, but on attracting.
Increasing brand awareness – in this case, the content is necessary to promote a personal brand (expert or company). The challenge is to increase people’s loyalty.
Communication with customers – in such an account they do not sell anything, but simply interact with existing customers or those who are ready to become them.
Working out the negative – when it is necessary to influence the image of a company or a person.
It is important to understand that a content plan will not generate an influx of subscribers or promote your account in search. It will facilitate routine work and analysis of published content. We wrote more about this in a separate article “Content plan: what is it and why is it needed”.
What must be reflected in the content plan
Bestselling author of Content Marketing, Michael Stelzner, has come up with the golden formula for content ratio.
Advertising content Are directly selling posts.
Branded content tells about the company / expert.
Engaging content aimed at interacting with the target audience: polls and tests, reviews and provocative posts.
Educational content is intended to inform, give new useful knowledge to users.
In my opinion, the distribution of posts by directions depends on the purpose of maintaining an Instagram account. For myself, empirically, I determined the following ratio of types of content, depending on the purpose of promotion.
Below is a list of categories for posts that I include in content plans for accounts of various types:
- Description of products / goods / services.
- New product announcements.
- Comparison of different products.
- Negative experience.
- Discussion of trends.
- Company’s news.
- The working process.
- Philosophy and mission of the company.
- Funny cases.
- Philosophical reasoning.
- Plans and dreams.
- Rules and principles of life.
- Customer problems and objections.
- Interesting Facts.
- Destruction of myths.
- Contests and prize drawings.
Leah Canary, SMM specialist
In addition to headings, I recommend reflecting the format of future publications. In addition to the usual three feed formats (photo / video / carousel), it is imperative to add the Stories and IGTV sections to the content plan.
The Stories functionality allows you to conduct any activities aimed at interaction and feedback with subscribers, and IG-TV allows you to download vertical videos up to an hour in length, and you can now save live broadcasts in it. Well, the video from the section can be published with a preview in a regular feed.
By the way, SMMplanner has an IGTV scheduling feature – you can even upload a video cover.
The reach of your posts will grow exponentially with Stories and IGTV. In addition, Instagram is believed to provide more reach when using new sections. The Reels section is also being released (short videos, like in TikTok) – so I recommend testing right away, because it’s always easier to break through in fresh formats.
When choosing categories and formats, rely on all the capabilities of Instagram to achieve your goals.
Where to look for post ideas:
- Detailed analysis of competitors and Instagram accounts in related topics. Look for what your colleagues have come up with the best, analyze how you can complement and modify the theme.
- Explore accounts on other social networks on your topic.
- Track publications on major blogs, subscribe to their mailing lists and take interesting ideas for content.
- Communicate closely with the target audience, publish polls, stimulate participation in discussions. Write about what your target audience wants to read. Read about how to find it in the article.
- Read news on major media platforms, do not neglect newsjacking.
- Refer to your old publications. Perhaps some materials require updating or additions?
- Watch YouTube videos on your topic.
Important: try to search for new topics, use different formats (reporting, interviews, storytelling), or present hackneyed topics in a non-trivial way.
Enter each idea for future submissions in the Idea Bank, a document that roughly describes a future topic. The Ideas Bank may look like this, for example:
Different template options for different tasks
The next step in creating a content plan is creating a table and distributing content by day of the week. The first thing that is important to decide on is the regularity of publications: stories and posts. For each of these types of content, I recommend creating your own table so as not to get confused.
It is more convenient for each day of the week (if you plan to post daily) to select a specific heading and publish material in accordance with the heading.
If the introduction of headings is not planned, the content plan may look like this:
Another working version of the content plan:
Sample Content Plan: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F6T9teSVwwRM9FTqY_eaEXowK8oSKXNDSW_2Yua3ct4/edit#gid=0
When the content plan is ready, you can safely upload posts to the posting service on Instagram – SMMplanner. There you will also see the arrangement of posts in the form of a table.
How to analyze a content plan so that it really works ON, and not AGAINST
The content plan also implies a mandatory analysis of the published content. This is necessary to understand whether you are moving in the right direction. Analysis can be short-term and long-term.
Short term analysis is carried out in the context of a week or two, while there is a certain algorithm of actions:
- Highlight the two most popular and two weakest submissions in the time period under consideration.
- Analyze what is common in the material that the target audience liked, and take note of this.
- Analyze why other posts were not liked by the audience. Can they be improved. If so, how? Contribute ideas to your idea bank.
- Adjust the content plan for the next week based on the results of the previous one.
Long term analysis is carried out in the context of one month according to the following algorithm:
- Select the most popular posts and analyze why they came to the audience.
- Think about how to expand or, conversely, narrow down an interesting topic in order to write new posts based on interesting information.
- Analyze unpopular content. Think about whether it is worth returning to topics that are not interesting to your target audience in the future. If so, under what sauce?
- Do a weekly content plan analysis and analyze which week was the most successful and why.
You can do the analysis manually or using special analytics services:
LiveDune – collection of statistics on accounts for detailed analysis
DataFan – Combines content and ad data to provide accurate statistics on posts, subscribers, and account reach.
Popsters – you can quickly track which posts are more or less attractive to the audience. Popsters can sort publications in the context of any format, volume of text, date of publication and content
JagaJam – designed for in-depth statistics, analysis of engagement and content quality. The tool finds popular posts and recommends posting times.
It is necessary to analyze the content plan regularly in order to improve the quality of promotion. It is important to find and correct errors, in the future this will lead to the creation of templates, an understanding of what exactly will target the target audience and facilitate the work.
To make it beautiful …
On Instagram, users love with their eyes, so it is important, even at the stage of drawing up a content plan, to look into the future and understand how an account will look after working out a monthly content plan. To do this, you can use the Instavid function in SMMplanner, it will greatly facilitate the process of planning your Instagram feed.
- Then enable the page schedule.
- Next, select the time and schedule for the release of publications and save the schedule.
- To add new posts, you need to click on an empty window in the schedule.
Examples of accounts for inspiration:
We will tell you even more useful information about how to design Instagram for sales on the online course “How to Promote Your Services on Instagram” from SMM.school.
The content plan solves the global problem of regular posting.
Communication with subscribers should occur constantly, then coverage will grow and potential customers will trust you.
Nowadays, you can find many ready-made content plans for Instagram on the Internet. But I don’t advise you to use them for your account. First, you are not the only one who will take advantage of this plan. This means that there is a high probability of the appearance of clone accounts. Secondly, these public content plans are not tailored to your account, and the themes suggested do not cover up your customers’ objections. But when you draw up a content plan, then you should go further and find out how to add a photo to Instagram from a computer.