Originally I thought that planning my content a week at a time would work for me. I soon realized that when work gets busy, days become filled, and Friday rolls around QUICKLY!

Originally posted on Instagram @madebylaurenuk 

I needed more lead time to write content which I was happy about and felt added genuine value, as opposed to the knee jerk or last-minute garbage.

I wanted to use Instagram to promote my services, build a community of like-minded people and local businesses, share my latest blog posts, and share much more about myself. I wanted to showcase my skills and expertise, but also make it easy for prospective clients to get a feel for me as a professional and a person.

I first started by planning my content weekly, but quickly moved to a 30+ day plan, often stretching to 6-8 weeks at a time! Although I do bulk plan my content, life happens, social media updates or something exciting happens that you want to share. These posts wouldn’t work if you posted them a month later because you had a watertight plan already in place. To allow for this, I always leave a little slack in my post schedule, leaving some generic-looking posts captionless.

1️⃣ – Look at the next month in advance. Are there any events, national days, personal events etc. that are coming up? What’s new in your business, what have you got coming up, are teasers? What were you up to this time last year?

2️⃣- What’s new in your industry? Check blogs and articles from respected leaders in your industry. What are your recent struggles or wins?

3️⃣- Bulk shoot in advance and keep your phone or camera out while you’re working, on the road, networking or just out and about. Capture moments, your team, your day, your products/clients. You might not post them today or even this week, but building a library of photos will help you to plan your posts quickly and maintain a consistent presence, even when you’re too busy or taking a holiday.

4️⃣- UGC. Have a look at posts that you have been tagged in. Is there any content there which you can recycle? It will add to your authenticity and authority, effortlessly.

5️⃣- Jot down a quick list of ideas which you’d like to write about. These don’t have to the finished article, just a few words or even a question. Having a monthly 10-minute brain dump will get your creativity flowing and roll off content ideas which may or may not have a common thread.

6️⃣- Use a content calendar planner.
There are so many, I won’t go into detail here. @planoly @preview and @latermedia are all designed for Instagram. Here you can check how you feed will look before you post, check that you have a branded aesthetic and that posts look complementary next to each other. You may want to consider how a combination of graphic, video and photo posts balance across your feed.

7️⃣- Write your hashtag lists in advance. Save them to your notes app or post scheduling service/app. These should be post-specific, with some niche-specific tags, local tags and tags which are relevant to your target audience. You can use up to 30 per post, so take advantage and use as many RELEVANT ones as you can. Contact me if you would like 90 bespoke hashtags for your business.

8️⃣- Have a running narrative or story that you’re telling over the week/month to add a sequence to your posts. Having a theme or topic to be writing about at the time will help you to keep some consistency and interest in your posts. Bulk planning in advance will encourage you to have a common theme to your posts, and prevent hit and miss or jumbled messages.

9️⃣- Evergreen content
Have you got content that isn’t time-sensitive, which has also performed well previously? Used subtly, these posts can keep your feed looking consistent, adding value to your audience with high-quality content.

🔟- What are the leaders in your industry posting about?
I’m not suggesting that you should imitate others, but checking industry leaders posts will help you to keep up with the latest developments and trends and widen the inspiration for your own message.

Let me know what your favourite tips are for planning ahead. 

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