Tips for Creating an Instagram Content Calendar for Your Business

By Jennifer Herman, Eric Butow, Corey Walker

A content calendar is an excellent way to get your Instagram content organized. It forces you to think strategically, which is far better than putting last-minute random content on your profile. It also provides an easy way to share plans with your team and offers a complete snapshot at the end of the year for planning the next year. An Instagram content calendar should

  • Include one to six months of planning.
  • Tie in with your other marketing functions and campaigns.
  • Account for holidays (including wacky ones such as #NationalDonutDay) if you choose to celebrate them.
  • Account for major industry events.
  • Include dates of product or service launches.
  • Include space for regularly scheduled tips, articles, and how-to’s.
  • Save space for curated content from others.
  • Set aside dates for tying in Instagram stories and video with your regular Instagram posts.
  • Note whether a post will be a paid ad and how much you’ll spend.

If you want to start simply, set up a content calendar in Excel or Google Sheets. Create a worksheet for each month of the year, and then type each day of the week across the top. On the left, separate the rows by weeks, for instance July 2 – July 8, 2018. Add a row below each date if you also plan to do Instagram stories on a regular basis.

content calendar Excel
A simple content calendar set up in Excel.

After you set up the framework, start filling in known items, such as holidays, events, promotions, and contests you’ve planned. You’ll be surprised how quickly your content calendar fills up, but there will still be several empty spaces. These empty spaces are the perfect spot for setting dates for tips, articles, how-to’s, infographics, and curated content from others.

If you’ve been on other social media platforms for a while, you may have tons of this content waiting to be reformatted for Instagram. But if you’re new to social media, a brainstorming session is helpful for thinking of creative new posts.

Now that you have a plan, you can move on to creating the content. If you plan on creating posts with text overlays or other designed images, dozens of apps make it quick and easy for anyone. Here are some to try out:

  • Adobe Spark: Social media graphic templates to repurpose, including one for Instagram Stories
  • Canva: Social media graphic templates, photography, fonts, and images available for free or $1
  • PicLab: Features for creating photo collages and specialty sticker overlays
  • Typic: Includes filters, creative text overlays, and stickers
  • WordSwag: Backgrounds and free photography plus several fonts and suggested famous quotes available for text overlays