Instagram Content Plan: How To Create A Good One?

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Instagram Content Plan: How To Create A Good One?

A good Instagram content plan has dual advantages. It maximizes results and saves time. 

Now, How to create a “good” content plan? 

Crafting a good Instagram content plan involves critical thinking, research, planning and at last, creating content and scheduling it. 

All of this might take a day or two. But once you sort this, social media management becomes a piece of cake. 

This blog covers 9 steps to create a perfect content plan for Instagram. By the end of it, you’ll have a framework on how to decide “what to post when” and how to manage Instagram in the least amount of time. 

9 Steps To Make An Effective Instagram Content Plan

These 9 steps will give direction to your Instagram content planning efforts :

Step 1: Understand Your Brand And Your Target Audience

Hold on. Answer the following questions first.

Why are you on Instagram? 


Why does your target audience use Instagram? 

Why do you want to create and post content? 


What benefit will they get from your content?

Note these observations. These will guide every decision you take in the further steps.

Step 2: Research

It’s time to use your stalking skills!

You may have some vague ideas about what to post. But, right now, don’t start creating Instagram content. 

Keep these aside. Research what’s going on in your niche, collect ideas and then decide. 

You can collect ideas from various sources:

  • Instagram Hashtags

There are two ways to identify content opportunities from hashtag research.

Firstly, Identify hashtags that might have come up in your niche recently. Shortlist the ones with more followers and fewer posts. Creating Instagram content relevant to these hashtags has an advantage. Due to less competition, it’ll rank well and enjoy more visibility. 

Secondly, when you analyze popular Instagram hashtags in your niche, keep a watch on the most engaging posts. 

If these topics enjoy a high engagement and reach, maybe you can create or curate content around it. 

But, be careful! Don’t come to a conclusion immediately. 

When you find an engaging post, give a quick check to the account. Do all posts have a similar engagement rate? Is the engagement coming from existing followers or is it organic?  Analyze all these factors to make a well-informed decision.  

Also, keep a watch on the most engaging accounts and Instagram influencers to identify collaboration opportunities.

  • General Awareness

Be aware of any upcoming events or news related to your niche. Or something that isn’t related to your niche but interests your target audience. 

For example, January and February are months of literature festivals. Book stores and libraries can inculcate this in their Instagram content plan.

Similarly, if an industry leader is soon going to launch a new product or if a new season of a hyped Netflix series is going to release, prepare to create content around the same. 

Predict what trends might come up. The better you predict, the less room is there for uncertainty. 

It’s understood that at this point, you won’t have complete information. But, make sure to reserve a spot for that post. 

  • Important Days

Keep a tab on upcoming days of national or international importance.

These might or might not relate to your niche. If it interests your audience in any way, try connecting it with your brand and create Instagram content around it. However, make sure to establish a logical connection. 

Think about how you’ll approach this day. Will you share information, collaborate with an Instagram influencer or drop a wish? Depending on the relevancy of the day for your brand, decide if you’ll give it 1 post or more. 

  • Quora & Reddit

Don’t skip a quick- research on other platforms your target audience actively uses. 

 To create an optimized Instagram content plan, scan Quora and Reddit to get an idea of the most asked questions. You’ll find great content opportunities there.

Also, scan various community groups for the same.

Some ideas may not be popular, but if these are good topics to show your authority, shortlist them as well. 

  • Instagram Audit

Analyze your last Instagram content plan. Measure its performance. Spot the topics that worked best. Maybe people would love to read more about them.   

If possible, segregate topics that got the most engagement and topics that got the most conversions. 

Also, understand the posting time and content format that worked best. 

  • Competitors

Analyze some direct and indirect competitors. 

Direct competitors are firms selling the same product as yours. Indirect competitors are popular accounts related to your niche. If your audience is attracted to their content, take inspiration from it. What’s working for them might work for you as well. 

Also, analyze their posting time and most used content formats.  

  • Popular People in Your Niche

Reserve some posts in your Instagram content plan for tagging popular accounts in your niche. 

Choose people/accounts who have a high following and who are more likely to reshare your post. Don’t waste time on something that doesn’t get noticed. 

Start identifying such people and think of how you can tag them in a way that doesn’t look intentional. 

If you’re creating the Instagram plan for a local offline business,  try targeting some local influencers. They might not have a great following. But they do cater to your specific audience.

Step 3: Understand Your Tentative Marketing Strategy

Remember, Instagram marketing strategy is one part of your overall marketing strategy.

So, reserve some space in your Instagram content plan for promoting other marketing efforts. 

For example, if you’re publishing a blog, keep a post dedicated to it. 

Also,  if some other department of your organisation is hosting an event, a campaign, a product launch or any other event, think about how you’ll promote it. 

Don’t bombard your feed with promotional stuff. Make it look valuable and natural.

Plan this according to the goals. For eg., suppose you’re conducting an event. And the Instagram goal is to get more attendees, you’ll start posting early on. And post more before the event than you’ll post after it.  

Similarly, plan according to the unique Instagram objective you want to achieve. And then incorporate it in your Instagram content plan.

Step 4: Select D/F Content Themes

Now that you’ve researched enough, shortlist a few content themes.

For each theme you select, ask yourself a simple question: “ Does this type of post contribute to achieving the main objective”? 

A list of possible themes is as follows: 

  1. Educational content 
  2. Testimonials 
  3. Influencer mention post
  4. A trend
  5. An upcoming event 
  6. Important day 
  7. Testimonials 
  8. Behind the scenes 
  9. Inspirational post 
  10. Meme 
  11. User Generated content
Step 5: Create A Flow For Content Themes

Now that you’ve identified and shortlisted your content themes, Create a flow. 

Instagram Content Plan

Repeat this flow periodically. 

Instagram Content plan is all about balance.

Assign weights to each content theme based on the result you expect from it. 

Now you’ll know what’s your main content type and what’s your filler content.

Next, Accommodate your other marketing strategies and overall business strategies that you’ve identified in Step 3. 

You may also plan according to Instagram Guides. If you want to create a guide on a particular topic, create some individual posts accordingly. 

Also understand how frequently you should post reels, IGTV’s or carousels. 

When you sort all this, you’re ready to create a content calendar.

Additionally, also map out how and when you’ll post stories. Remember, stories are under-utilized if you use them only to share your posts. 

Step 6: Sort Content Topics

It’s time to gather your ideas and insights!

You know the content themes, the content formats and their respective frequency. And you know some trending topics from your research phase. 

Coordinate everything and start creating a content calendar. 

How to organize a content calendar?

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This image shows how Digital Aisa organises its Instagram content calendar. The team keeps on filling the sheet as and when the content gets ready. This is a basic template. You can add and delete columns at your convenience.

Don’t forget to add a guideline sheet to your Instagram content calendar. This should contain every uniform resource from your brand guideline:

  1. Your logo
  2. Templates 
  3. Content tone 
  4. Caption tone (if any)

Share this guideline with your team such that everyone is on the same page. 

Step 7: Visual Strategy

Plan the visual appearance of your Instagram feed. 

Don’t just follow a template. Follow a grid. All your posts should look colour-coordinated. The feed is your first chance to create an impression. 

Fix your colours (if you have a brand theme, this is sorted). You can also choose a few different colours that would stand out. Use them to highlight specific posts on your feed. 

Choose your fonts. Make templates and keep them ready. Share these templates with your team in the guideline document. 

Step 8: Get Ready With The Visuals, Hashtags And Captions

It’s showtime. Start creating Instagram content.

To avoid moving back and forth between research and content creation, collect all the raw information in a single place. Gather pictures for all your posts. Collect the rough content. Gather the hashtags. Collect all of this. Now, start finalizing each post one by one.

Once finalized, update posts in the Instagram content calendar created above. When done, schedule the posting.

Step 9: Engagement Promotion

Engagement is an unavoidable part of Instagram marketing strategy. 

In addition to a well-thought Instagram content plan and creatively designed content, you’ll also need an Instagram interaction plan.

Decide how you’ll interact with other accounts in your niche. Devise how you’ll comment, on which posts types you would comment, which personalities you will try interacting with. 

Set your brand tone. Whether you want to talk in a humorous manner, authoritative manner or if you wanna sound silly. Set that tone and brief your team on it.

Apps To Create An Instagram Content Plan

The ultimate planning is yours. But, some tools facilitate the process of creating and executing an Instagram content plan. These are:

1. Creator Studio

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It’s a free Facebook tool for Instagram post scheduling posts, managing the content you’ve posted and analyzing insights.

2. Keyhole
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This tool is useful for two things. First, for social analytics and listening. Second, to identify and manage influencers in your niche.

The analytics tool analyzes data and sentiments across multiple social media networks. It generates your performance report and compares it with your competitors. It also suggests some trending topics you might be unaware of. 

It researches and analyzes influencers’ performance to suggest you the best ones. See their campaign posts immediately so you know who’s performing well, and who hasn’t posted at all.

You can start with a free trial and then devise a custom plan according to your needs. 

3. Snapview

snapview - Digital Asia Community

It tracks various hashtags and competitors on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Reddit and blogs. All in a single place. 

It also tracks what you’ve already viewed and allows you to add posts to your favourites. 

You can filter its findings by social networks and status

The standard app comes with 2 competitors and 2 hashtag searches. For more, you’ll need to contact Snapview. 

4. Instagram Grid

instagram grid - Digital Asia Community

Instagram grid is a free app. 

It allows you to drag and rearrange your designs. You can set and re-set your designs according to a 9×9 grid. 

It also allows you to directly schedule posting. 

5. Gleam

Gleam - Digital Asia Community

If giveaways and contests are a vital part of your Instagram content plan, this app lets you manage their entries. 

6. Iconosquare

Iconosquare - Digital Asia Community

Allows you to conduct an immediate free Instagram audit. 

The audit evaluates your last 30 days of posts, overall profile performance, and provides tips for areas that could use some improvement. 

Beyond the audit, Iconosquare’s paid tools include analytics and scheduling, but only on Instagram and Facebook.

7. Phlanx

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It’s an engagement calculator. 

It calculates the rate of engagement on your account instantly. 

Comes with a 3-day free trial. 

8. Shortstack

ShortStack - Digital Asia Community

One of ShortStack’s specialties is helping marketers track social contest hashtags. Track your hashtag, identify high-profile users, and select winners with its Random entry selector.

9. Later

Later - Digital Asia Community

Once you finish creating posts for your Instagram content plan,  schedule these posts on Later. It also offers additional features, unlike the creator studio. 

The tool offers a free plan as well. 

The Better You Plan, The Better You Manage

To create a good content plan, you need to do some research, plan and schedule your content. After going through this blog, you might have some idea about how to do this.

Creating an Instagram content plan will be a bit challenging at first, but it’s important to have one in place. 

Only when you finish creating Instagram content, you’ll be able to focus on other priority areas. Otherwise, you’ll be devoting more time to executing your Instagram marketing strategy than it deserves.