How to Create An Instagram Stories Content Plan

Written by Laura Roeder

On January 29, 2020
Photo by Katka Pavlickova on Unsplash

How to Create An Instagram Stories Content Plan blog graphic

Can you imagine a time before Instagram stories? It’s hard to believe but these beloved 15-second shots have only been around since 2016! Today, it’s hard to imagine a world where brands and creators weren’t focused on Instagram stories. They have become overwhelmingly popular with Instagrammers. 500 million people post to stories every day and 33% of the most viewed stories come from businesses.

Why is everyone obsessed with Instagram stories? Well, for one thing, they work. They increase awareness. 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories. They also increase engagement. 1 in 5 stories gets a direct message! And let’s face it, they’re just plain fun.

So if a bigger following or a higher engagement rate is in your list of goals this year or you just want to have a little bit more fun with your Insta, then you need to start incorporating more stories into your Instagram strategy.

Need more inspiration? Download 13 Customizable Instagram Templates

Let’s talk about how to plan, create and schedule Instagram stories!

What should you post on Instagram?

This is, of course, the first question everyone has about social media: what the heck am I supposed to talk about on social media?

Coming up with consistent high-quality content isn’t easy but we like to create categories to build a well-balanced content plan and you can do the same!

Categorizing your content, like your Instagram stories, is all about identifying the core components of your messaging and brand.

  • What topics do you want to be known for?
  • What is your expertise?
  • What do you want your audience to feel, think, learn and do when they consume your content?

If you are struggling to come up with some ideas for content categories, we recommend referring to four goals of content marketing.

  • Educate – Share your expertise and knowledge.
  • Entertain – Share content your audience will enjoy. This will demonstrate you understand them for who they are as people, not just as potential customers.
  • Engage – Social media is all about interactions! You should be asking questions, having conversations and encouraging your audience to share their thoughts.
  • Inspire – Inspire people to take action, think bigger or try harder.

Here are some different categories we’ve used in the past to give you ideas:

  • Social Media Tips (Educate)
  • Polls (Engage)
  • Entrepreneur quotes (Inspire)
  • Behind the scenes shots (Entertain)
  • Content Ideas (Educate)
  • Quizzes (Engage)
  • Customer spotlights (Inspire)
  • Marketing Memes (Entertain)

When thinking about what you want to post, you should also consider the nature of stories. As opposed to posts in the main feed which can be one photo, stories are designed to be a sequence. (Spoiler alert!) You’re telling a story so you should think about creating a beginning a middle and an end with your stories. The ideal sequence is 3-7 posts in your stories. Structuring your stories into multiple sequences can take a little bit of imagination but you’re sure to have a more quality story if you do it this way. Let’s look at two examples for some ideas.

We love this example from Harvard Business Review. They blend education with engagement and a little bit of inspiration before adding a call to action.

harvard business review story example

AirBnB is another great example of using the poll feature to engage their audience and creating a 3-sequence story out of it.

Airbnb Instagram story


How often do you want to post?

After you figure out what you want to post and how you want to structure those stories, you have to determine the frequency of your stories.

Stories last 24 hours and you can always save them to your highlights for future viewing. This should give you a little leeway in the pressure to post.

The most important thing about determining your frequency is understanding your bandwidth. Posting five 7-sequence stories every week can burn you out quickly. When you burn out, your content tends to decrease in quality so it’s best to adjust your frequency. If you find that you have extra creative energy, you can always share more stories but it’s best to start planning and scheduling at a lower frequency.

How can you make creating and posting Instagram stories easier?

We get it. Managing social media is a ton of work and Instagram stories might feel like one more place you have to post.


But you can structure your planning, creation, and scheduling so that it’s much easier to manage all these social posts.

  1. Follow content categories and create a set schedule
    Listen, you don’t need so much think work in your social schedule. Instead of over-complicating it, divide your content into categories and pick a day for each category. Designate Tuesdays as your poll days, Thursdays as your tips and Saturdays for your personal videos. Eliminating the guesswork of what types of content to post and when will free up your headspace for the actual creation of the content.

2. Use templates
Using similar fonts and colors will give your stories a professional polish and using templates will cut down on design time! You can use Canva, Crello, Photoshop or any other design tool to create your templates and then you can reuse & repeat as often as needed!
Pro-Tip for Edgar users: You can reuse templates and create different variations with each template for your stories! Learn more about variations here.

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Need some creative inspiration for Instagram story templates? Download our free pack of 13 customizable Instagram story templates!

Free Instagram Story Templates

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3. Prioritize engagement
One way to feel excited about your Instagram stories plan is to prioritize engagement and get yourself in an engaging mindset when posting. There’s no auto-post to Instagram story available so you have the opportunity to spend time messaging, commenting and chatting with your audience when you post stories. You can be active in the app, which can improve your standing in the algorithm and increase your engagement. Not to mention, social media is just more fun when you’re engaging!


So how are you going to tell your story? (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves with that one!) 

We want to hear your questions or ideas about Instagram stories! Let us know in the comments below or on social media @MeetEdgar.

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