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December 3, 2016

How to share heartfelt and engaging Instagram content [consistently] in 5 mins a day


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Let’s face it: While Instagram is a great way to wile away your time stalking – ahem – *admiring* all the pretty photos, from a business sense, unless you’ve got a smooth system of operation figured out, it can become an energy-draining time suck.

You may have heard me say before that I recommend posting to Instagram at least once daily. At least at the beginning. This is to stay consistent and present, to build relationships with other people using Instagram – most specifically, your target audience. However, if the idea of daily posts totally freaks you out and you’re thinking ‘how could I possibly create so much content?!’ you may be experiencing (at least) one of the following two problems:

Problem # 1: you don’t (THINk you) have enough photos

You’re not one for photo-taking or a selfie, and you’re worried the photos you DO take won’t look good enough for people to ‘like’ them, anyway. You’re mostly on Instagram because you’ve heard it can be good for your business, but you haven’t yet cracked your personal Insta-success code (and by that, I mean finding a way to make it flow easily). Taking photos of your life daily isn’t something that comes naturally to you, and you don’t enjoy having to think about taking all of your pics on the fly, because well:

1. You don’t feel like your life is mega extraordinary (at least, not every day 😉)
2. Your life is busy and it seems like more effort than it’s worth to think about a photo to create and post every day
3. You don’t want to ‘force’ moments to happen, or post photos purely for the sake of staying consistent

Problem #2: You don’t know what to write/say.

You’ve got your photo. You’re ready to post. But the minute you start typing into the caption box, you’ve got nothing to say. There’s so many other coaches and health accounts out there that you wonder what you could possibly add to the conversation? Surely there are others who have said it before, and said it better, right? And this analysis paralysis is stopping you from posting, because you don’t feel like your voice is strong enough or you have anything worth saying.

These two blocks are problematic for two reasons

  1. You absolutely have something worth saying. Not that it’s a competition, but you already have one advantage above everyone else – you are YOU! No-one can say things exactly the way you do. Have you heard the adage ‘there might be 5 people in the room delivering the exact same message, but you’ll only truly hear it from one of those people?’ (Or something like that). That’s because we all resonate with people differently. And although there might be others out there with a similar topic/niche, they won’t be saying it the way you would be. So if this is a worry for you, set yourself a goal to tune out from your peers for a while, and focus on what’s going on in your own mind, and what you have to say. Doing some meditation can help with this, so you have time to reconnect back with yourself. 
  2. While in the scale of life it’s only minor, the constant worry about creating images/what to say consumes more energy and brain power in the back of your mind than is necessary, because you’re always leaving it to the last minute.. Kind of like decision fatigue. This ain’t great for your account OR your wellbeing – so we’re going to change all that together!

In this post I’m going to focus on TWO solutions

  1. How to post daily without running out of cool photos, or feeling like you’re forcing yourself to post a photo you don’t really like, simply because you feel like you have to post.

  2. How to have something to say every day, along with your captions.

I created a caption planning workbook with tonnes of prompts to help you with the captions part. If you want to journal out a huge supply of caption ideas, then download it here: 

#1 Creating Instagram photos consistently

So the good news is, you absolutely don’t have to take professional quality photos for Instagram. While a better-looking image certainly helps, you can take your photos with your iPhone, share quotes and even use some stock images (less often!).

The key action that works for me and helps me personally stay sane while posting every day, is batching about 95% of my photos in advance. That means, for the most part I don’t have to think about taking daily photos, but on the days I have something I feel is truly worthwhile snapping and sharing on the spot, it’s no biggie and easy to do. This is also how big brands manage their accounts – by pre-curating and batching their content. Every person’s approach will be different, but to share some personal insight, here’s how it works for me.

I like to create pretty images with my Nikon camera (where possible). The visual side of my Instagram gallery is a collection of styled images – of how I see the world – rather than snippets of my every day life. In all honesty, most days I’m at home working in my trackpants, and I eat the same thing most days too – a big salad with some meat for breakfast lunch and dinner. There’s only so many photos of that I can share! So I use Instagram as a creative outlet and a place to have fun with photography. Styling images is something I enjoy more than taking daily photos of my life. I usually have one or two days a month when I’m feeling extra creative, and it’s on these days that I’ll do some shoots at home, either with food, or what I call ‘moments’ shots – lifestyle images with a bit of a lived-in scene happening. Then I pick the photo that best represents what I want to say on a particular day. That’s just what works for me though – for you it might be totally different!

Here’s 4 ways you can get prepared by creating more content, and batching it up front. If you have any tips of your own here, feel free to share them in the comments!

  1. Create your own photos in batches. Set aside 1-2 days per month to create a stockpile of photos. Have a completely creative ‘content day,’ where you cook some food and photograph it (maybe it’s a meal planning day – in which case, you can also photograph the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of your meal prep, if you think your audience would like it). If you’re less of a foodie, think about ways you can create a number of images that depict what you do in one go. The best way to start with food photography would be to buy a flat surface (i.e. a white table top from IKEA, a marble chopping board or tile, a food photography surface of some sort – just something you like and that feels like you) and photograph a batch of dishes in one go, on the same surface – the consistent background will create a cohesive look across your Instagram feed. Make sure you take the photos during daylight hours and pop your surface near a window to get good natural light, and switch off your indoor lights so it doesn’t make the photo temperature too warm.
  2. Use stock photos. I’d recommend doing this less often, as using images that aren’t your own aren’t as personal, and the point of Instagram as a small business owner (in my opinion) is to share what’s true for you. But particularly at the beginning, using some *relevant* stock photos can be a good way to stay consistent. Haute Chocolate is a great stock photo website for female entrepreneurs. My friend Yolie told me about it, and there’s a few sections dedicated to photos for health and wellbeing. You do have to pay for the images, but they’re good quality, so if that sounds like something that would be a saviour for you, particularly in busier times where you just don’t have time to create your own images but you want to post consistently, go check it out! 
  3. Repost customers and clients. If you have a product, whether that be digital or physical, create a hashtag and ask your customers to use it. Then you can repost their images as a way to share with your audience. Similarly, if you’re a coach, if any of your clients post images that show lifestyle changes they’re making, and it’s from work you’ve done together, ask your client(s) if they’d mind if you can share their photo on your account.
  4. Create quotes and tips graphics. This in particular is a real saviour when it comes to image curation and content creation. Personally. I don’t like Instagram feeds that are 100% quote based, because I’m more attracted to photographs. But if you create a nice template in Canva or Photoshop, you can create an endless amount of quotes or tips to add to your library in advance. I wouldn’t share a quote photo any more than every second photo – but you can spread these out to every third, fourth, fifth photo, or even just sporadically.

#2 Having something to say every day

This is something that gets easier over time. The key is noticing what your audience interacts with most, and using this as intel to inspire your future posts. To find what works, it’s helpful to start by looking through your existing photos to understand which ones have got the most interaction from your audience. Typically, a photo might get more likes because it’s pretty, but a photo/post will get more comments because the caption sparks interest – so look for comments over likes here. You can also check this in Iconosquare by going to ‘Analyze’ > ‘Engagement’ then scrolling to the bottom and checking your ‘most commented’. Notice what types of photos get the most interaction from your audience.

I created the Consistent Content journalling prompts to help with this, so if you want to journal out a huge supply of caption ideas, then download it here (if you’re already in my Consistent Content Challenge, you don’t need to sign up to get this – the link is in your day 3 email. 

Is it:

  1. Tips
  2. General chatter
  3. Promotions
  4. Questions
  5. Quotes (in caption)
  6. A mix?

You don’t have to post your immediate thoughts in your captions every day. While it’s great to give live updates of what you’re doing and what you’re up to, that’s not always sustainable. You can create a buffer of content to have ready for days where you’re not so sure what you’d really like to say, so that you’re still posting something that shares value and doesn’t feel forced.

I created the Consistent Content journalling prompts to help with this, so if you want to journal out a huge supply of caption ideas, then download it here (if you’re already in my Consistent Content Challenge, you don’t need to sign up to get this – the link is in your day 3 email. 

Instagram caption prompts


Keep your audience happy and engaged with these great caption ideas.

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So there we are – ideas for posting consistently to Instagram so you never run out of a picture to post or something to say. I hope you found this helpful? 

Got any questions about Instagram content for me? Fire away below.

If you have any tips of your own you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments – I’d love to hear them and I’m sure others would too.



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