Find out my step-by-step process for how to create amazing content for Instagram, your blog, AND your email newsletter in WAY less time. If I can do this, I know you can too!
The first thing to note for all you newbies out there: Amazing content for Instagram or any other platform is everywhere! It’s in who you are: what you love, what you hate, who you stand up for, and the why behind your business.
It takes a little time to hone your message, and Instagram is a great platform to get started on.
But you might be asking:
Why Instagram instead of Facebook or Pinterest?
You don’t need to be active on every social media platform, especially when you’re just getting started. Every good digital marketer or coach will tell you to go where your audience is, and this is true to an extent. But it’s also about going where you feel comfortable and going where you provide the most value. If you’re missing these pieces, it’s going to be hard, and we don’t want that!
While I honestly think every business needs a simple Facebook business page to get started, it’s not the best for organic reach. The good news is that it’s easy to set-up and provides some additional cred. You can also add what your business does and link to your business page on your personal Facebook profile. This is important for when you post in Facebook groups to network, so potential clients can easily find you and your business without a crazy amount of effort.
I’ll be brutally honest and say that I think Facebook business pages are really only good for posting the basics of what your business does with some occasional updates. I don’t recommend it as your primary platform for getting started. Organic reach is just really hard on Facebook business pages!
Aside from the option of being active in Facebook groups, I recommend Instagram for most online businesses that are just starting out. Instagram is great is you’re selling something that is visually interesting or if you’re selling something motivational (coaching, fitness, travel planning, are some good examples), especially if your ideal client is under the age of 40.
Pinterest has a wider audience, mostly women, and works more like a search engine so you can get more traffic to your website and products; this is great for infopreneurs or bloggers, and even coaches if you love to blog. It will take time to get followers and traffic; it’s a long game unless you are serving a very niche market.
If I had to describe each platform in one word: Facebook is “pay-to-play”. Instagram is personal. Pinterest is informational.
If I had to choose one social media platform for a brand new business, I’d likely choose Instagram.
How does Instagram help when you’re just starting out a side hustle? You can connect with other Instagram users on a deeper, more personal level. It’s easier to build up an audience who knows, likes, and trusts you. You can use Instagram stories to show your more personal side and post to your feed to build your brand and hone your message.
Instagram is a place to experiment, especially with video. Instagram stories are really popular and can have a ton of reach, but they’re not nearly as scary as doing Facebook lives. You don’t have to be perfect on Instagram.
In fact, there’s some pushback happening right now on those perfect influencers that have hundreds of thousands of followers. People are getting bored of the perfect and looking for more authentic, “messy” brands. Now is a great time to dip your toe in.
Also, you don’t need to have thousands of Instagram followers to sell your services. I swear! There are plenty of businesses with 500 followers or less who are making thousands of dollars each month. It’s completely possible! In fact, many times, the smaller your number of followers, the higher the engagement. This is great news for those of you just starting a side hustle who want to use Instagram for your business!
Choose your scheduler.
There are a ton of social media schedulers to choose from with various pros and cons. I really don’t recommend comparing and contrasting every single one as it can be overwhelming and a time waster.
The reason I recommend a scheduler: You can get everything done for the week and not worry about posting when you’re busy or working.
If you choose Instagram as your platform of choice, you can use Planoly, Buffer, or Later. I’ve tried all three and landed on Planoly, but they will all work. You really can’t go wrong, so long as it’s something you find easy to use, and that’s what Planoly was for me.
Do you struggle with how to create amazing content on Instagram? Then know this:
There are content ideas EVERYWHERE.
I get my best content ideas in the shower. I wish I was kidding, because it’s really inconvenient! I’ve been known to jump out and grab a pen and post-it to write down my ideas. But the point is:
I keep a long and ever-growing list of content ideas.
And I write down every single idea I have, even if it’s silly. Oftentimes, those ideas turn into the best ones because they’re unique. I’ll write down Instagram ideas, lead magnet ideas, course name ideas, blog post ideas, Facebook group ideas….alllllll the ideas.
Another way to help you find ideas is to search common questions your ideal client avatar might have in Google. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and look for associated questions. Could you write a blog or an Instagram about one of those topics? Could you do a mini training and save it to your Instagram highlights?
When you’re reading books or articles, save your favorite quotes. You can use those to create really quick and easy Instagram posts in Canva. If you love a new song, put it on your Instagram stories. If you have a crazy story from your week, share it! People want to know the real you behind your brand. It’s important to growing your audience’s trust and it helps you find clients. Don’t discount it!
Strategically “recycle” your content.
Here’s where I share the secret to creating a week’s worth of content in less than two hours.
- Every week I write one blog. This takes the most time. I’ll usually outline the draft and spend a few minutes each night adding and refining the content, so when I work to get it finalized on Saturday, it’s easy-peasy! Tip: Not every blog needs to be a million words. Short blog posts are okay. Better done than perfect, I say!
- I create a Pinterest image in Canva. I don’t allow it to take more than 5 minutes by setting a timer and being super decisive! Remember: don’t let perfection keep you from achieving your goals!
- After I’ve published or scheduled that blog, I choose three photos for my Instagram. One of those photos will be chosen just for representing the blog post topic that week, and many times I can alter the Pinterest image to fit my Instagram account.
- After I have those three photos selected, I write out the Instagram captions. You can add the photos to your scheduler and write the captions inside to make it more efficient. I will usually copy and paste a tiny bit of the blog content for the one photo we selected for the blog post caption for Instagram, so it’s quick and easy.
- I add the Instagram hashtags. I have a master list of Instagram hashtags that I’ve saved in Planoly to make it super easy to schedule posts. If you have zero idea how to find hashtags, you can pay people to research and create this list for you.
- I schedule the date and time I want the content to post for the week.
- Finally, I create an email newsletter based around one of the Instagram posts, insert the photo from Instagram or from Pinterest, copy and paste some of the content into the newsletter, do some light editing, and….
- BOOM! All my content is handled for the week.
Batch your tasks.
As you saw above with my strategy, I try to batch my tasks. It makes your work so much more efficient.
- Do one task at a time. If you’re creating a blog, I recommend writing it somewhere easy, like a Google doc, instead of in your blogging platform. Don’t be too distracted by formatting when you’re writing. Just write.
- Design all your Pinterest images at one time.
- Choose your photos for the week all at once if you’re using Instagram or another visual platform. Don’t get super hung up on a photo matching a description perfectly; no one cares unless it’s just super unrelated. I used to spend way too much time looking for the perfect photo. That’s not really the point. You just want a good-enough photo.
- Write all of your social media content at once. I write all of my Instagram captions after I’ve selected the photos. Then there’s no going back and forth between photos and captions. I also research the hashtags, if needed, after all the captions are written so I’m not switching back and forth.
Do completely undistracted work.
If I put my phone away and close all my other tabs and focus in on just doing the work in front of me, whether it’s writing a blog or creating Instagram captions, I can get it done so much faster.
Please, please, please, don’t discount how much you can get done this way. It is a total gamechanger.
And you may be thinking, “Yeah, yeah…but I’m a great multitasker”, let me correct you: No, you’re really not. You’re losing so much time when you’re switching tasks and you may not even realize it.
Example: I was writing this blog post at a crazy speed until I thought, “I need to find an article about task switching and lost time!” I know better! And yet, off I went to Google. And it took me way too long to get back here and writing again. Don’t do this! Wait until you’re done with your current task to handle a new one. It only breaks your flow!
Now, back to it: turn off your notifications, schedule time to get it done, and do that one thing.
Ultimately, you need to find a workflow that works for you and your business.
If you want to create amazing content for Instagram, or any other platform, you need a plan. You need to set goals around how many times you’ll post and what you want your brand to stand for.
Start slow. Post one time a week if that’s all you can manage. Will you have faster growth if you post more? Sure. But it you stop posting because it becomes really overwhelming, you’ll have zero growth. No one wants that!
Want more? Here is: How to grow your side hustle without burning out