How to Plan 2 Weeks of Instagram Content Fast, Effectively & Repeatedly | Bella Foxwell | Skillshare

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How to Plan 2 Weeks of Instagram Content Fast, Effectively & Repeatedly

teacher avatar Bella Foxwell, Instagram strategist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Welcome to the class!

    • 2. Why content planning is so powerful

    • 3. Determine your goal on Instagram

    • 4. Develop your strategy

    • 5. Decide your posting cadence

    • 6. Batch similar tasks & commit to your diary

    • 7. What about Instagram Stories?

    • 8. Time for (fast) content creation

    • 9. Analyse your Insights monthly

    • 10. Time-saving tools & templates

    • 11. Next steps!

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About This Class

Instagram marketing can be extremely effective, but not if you can't consistently plan, create & publish strategic content on a regular basis.

Whether you’re a content planning superstar (that sometimes falls out of the habit) or a self-proclaimed content planning procrastinator, this class is for you.

Content planning is one of the biggest challenges business owners face. With so many other responsibilities to juggle, finding the time to plan Instagram content often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.

Join Bella Foxwell, Instagram strategist, as she walks you through a content strategy that will move the needle for your business (this isn’t your usual “pillars” and “buckets” type of strategy) and then show you exactly how to bring this strategy to life with a simple, sustainable plan.

You’ll learn:

  • Why content planning is so powerful (and how it actually increases - not lessens - authenticity)
  • How to STOP pouring hours of time & energy into 1 Instagram post at a time (the quickest way to Instagram misery and burnout)
  • The content strategy hundreds of business owners have used to attract, nurture and convert more followers into customers
  • How to batch content creation tasks successfully
  • A simple, sustainable approach to content planning that you can return to again and again

PLUS there's heaps of best practice examples AND a downloadable worksheet and calendar included so you can take immediate action on everything you’ve learned.

By the end of this class, you will walk away with a simple, repeatable system that will allow you to more easily and consistently plan Instagram content that converts followers into customers.


Who am I?

I’m Bella Foxwell, an Instagram strategist based in the UK who helps business owners generate more leads, sales, and enquiries with the help of high-converting content. I’m passionate about helping busy business owners take control of their success on Instagram by arming them with the strategy & tools they need to make content planning manageable - not miserable.


Other Useful Links:

My website:

My free lesson: 3 Ways To Plan Highly Engaging Instagram Stories (video lesson & guide)

My Instagram - @bellafoxwell

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bella Foxwell

Instagram strategist


Hello, I'm Bella, an Instagram strategist based in London.

I help small business owners generate more leads, sales & enquiries through Instagram with the help of high-converting content.

I love oat lattes, my corgi Winston, and re-watching episodes of Schitt's Creek.

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1. Welcome to the class!: I have elephants are Instagram strategists and consultant who empowers small business owners to generate more leads, more sales and more inquiries through Instagram with the help of high converting content. I've seen firsthand the incredible benefits of Instagram marketing or business growth. So very mindful of the challenges of consistent content planning and creation. When you are a solopreneur wearing multiple different hats in your business, or you are a site hustler trying to get your business off the ground. This course is ideal for online business owners, whether you're a service provider, a product-based business, or created a coach or a consultant. While we will be talking a lot about content planning, I'm also going to walk you through goal setting and share a strategy with you so that your content planning is much simpler and much more effective every single month. The good news is that what we're discussing today, our lessons and strategies you can return to on a regular basis. And I got some really handy resources and worksheets that you can use as we worked through the lessons to implement everything you're learning and start putting it into action straightaway, whether you've dabbled in planning before, but it's never quite stark. Or you are a stereo procrastinator. I hope by the end of these lessons, you feel empowered to make content timing a regular part of your routine. 2. Why content planning is so powerful: The first thing I want to talk about is why content planning is so important and so beneficial to you and your business if you've ever felt burnt-out, uninspired, or disheartened by the results and the progress you are making on Instagram. It's probably because you were stuck in a cycle of ad hoc posting. Ad hoc posting is posting one day at a time or waiting until inspiration strikes to draft a post to publish on Instagram. The problem with this approach is that collectively it takes so much time and energy. And it means you are emotionally invested in every post you publish because you've poured all of that love, energy and attention into that one post. And if it doesn't do well, then rightly, you feel like all of that time and energy has been wasted. Contempt hanning allows you to be so much smarter with your time. And it gives you the distance that you need between you and your content to start approaching your Instagram marketing much more strategically and rationally, and not emotionally. Some people worry that content planning removes the authenticity from an Instagram account and the content, I'd argue that it increases authenticity because it frees you up from having to think of something brilliant to say on the spot and gives you the space and time you need to craft content that truly benefits your ideal customer, your brand voice. A message doesn't need to be drafted in the moment for it to be authentic. And another huge benefit of content planning is that it frees you up day today to be able to actually spend time engaging with your audience. This is essential to moving the needle for your business and laying the foundations for relationships with your followers that will turn into customers and clients down the road. 3. Determine your goal on Instagram: While you're only planning two weeks worth of content, it's really important to make sure that those two weeks of posts are really, really purposeful before we jump feet first into designing nice graphics and drafting compelling captions. First, pause and check in with your bigger business goals for this quarter. How can Instagram marketing help you achieve those? If you are a brand new business owner, your primary goal with your Instagram marketing, maybe brand awareness. You want to get your name out there and start building your reputation. In that case, how will you know that Instagram marketing is helping you to achieve that goal? This might be by increasing the reach of your posts or steadily growing your followers. Are the goals include building your email list, booking sales calls, or making direct sales of your product or service via the link in your bio or via one-to-one conversations you're having in the DMZ, your goal will depend on your unique business and sales process. A word of warning, don't try to use Instagram to achieve to many different goals. For example, building your email list and booking more one-to-one sales calls and sending traffic to your blog and building your YouTube channels subscriber base, the more focused you are with your goal, the clearer your content and messaging will be on Instagram. And this smoother and easier the customer journey will be from someone hitting follow to then taking action and joining your e-mail list or booking a sales call or checking out your service or product via the link in your bio. This clarity and simplicity will mean you're more likely to see results on Instagram sooner. 4. Develop your strategy: Content planning is really difficult when you don't have a strategy to follow. And that's why in this lesson, before we get into the logistics of actually content planning, I'm going to share with you a framework that will allow you to create posts that will really move the needle for your business and move your followers through their customer journey closer to conversion. So within this framework, there are four different types of posts that each serve a different purpose. Personal, polarizing, educational, and promotional. Now the beauty of these different posts is that they each perform a different role in warming up your followers and moving them further along in their customer journey. Remember, some people in your audience are brand new to you. They've recently hit follow, and they know very little about you or your business. Then you have some people in your audience who had been following you for the last six months, perhaps a year. They know a lot about you. They've been consuming your content. They'd been seeing the testimonials you've been sharing or the user-generated content. And they're really close to making a purchase or investing in your service, and they're just waiting for the right offer at the right time. These two different followers require different types of content because they are at different stages of their customer journey. One of them is what we would consider in marketing speak to be a cold lead. And one of them is what we would consider to be a very warm lead. So the different types of content that I'm walking you through today are going to cater to these different types of follower and everyone else in-between, you might be wondering whether the strategy I walk you through today is suitable for story content as well as great content. The answer is yes, while most of the examples I share will be related to grit content, the same principles apply to your story content. It's just that, that content will look a little bit different. The last thing I'll say before I dive into each of those types of posts in more detail, is that you should be expecting a different metric with each of them, with personal posts, you should be expecting the primary metric to be comments. For polarizing posts, shares is the metric we most expect to see. For educational posts, saves is the primary metric. And for promotional posts, website clicks, or DNS is the metric that we are expecting to generate the most off, I'll go into a little bit more detail about each of these metrics as I go through each of the post types in more detail, starting with personal, personal content, humanizes your brand or business on Instagram, it puts a face to the account and allows your followers to get to know a little bit more about the person or the people behind the business. Typically this content looks like photos or videos of the founder or founders, the team, or a location that is relevant to the brand, like an office or factory or a city. The captions that go alongside this content is typically stories of the founder or the people behind the business sharing stories of how they got started, their business milestones, mistakes, lessons, dreams, fun facts about the business. You can see how this content really allows your followers to get to know more about the people. The person behind the account humanizes the brand and allows them to feel like they could actually know and like this brand on a deeper level. Here's an example from artist and stickers celebrates art studio sharing a fun intro post accompanied by a photo of herself. Here's another example from Katie Sando from preventive Academy, a graphic designer turned graphic designer coach. In this real, she does a nice comparison of where she was and who she was seven years ago compared to who she is and where she is today and how much has changed in that time. Now let's talk about polarizing content. This type of content allows you to communicate your brand personality and values with your followers. What opinion do you want to share about your industry? What one thing do you want your ideal customer or client to hear today? What will make your ideal customer laugh out loud? Polarizing content doesn't have to mean controversial content, though of course, it can do. Polarizing content is polarizing because your unique sense of humor, your set of values and beliefs, your perspective on your industry isn't going to appeal to everyone. And that's okay, that's a good thing when we're thinking about what this type of content looks like in terms of visuals, typically polarizing content is best presented as a text graphic, a tweet, screenshots, or a GIF or a mean. Let me give you some examples to inspire you. So the first is from product photographer and stylist Tamara Darden, who now happens to actually coach product photographers as well. She looked around her industry, I can see many of her peers and also how clients selling themselves short. And so she created a post to address this. Increase your rates. I'd rather you be scared them broke. And you can see how she presented this as a tweet screenshot. This example is from the skincare supplement brand and gold, which regularly shares memes like this one, funny, witty humerus memes and pretty cute as well, that taps into their audience's focus on itself care when creating polarizing content, the metric that you should expect to see is typically shares. Now this may not always be the case. You may in fact generate lots of comments if it's a very cute meme or even as we saw with tomorrow's example, this unique perspective and her tough love approach that might have actually generated an outpouring of comments. And I believe it did from other people in her industry who really felt seen and motivated by what she had to say. But the beauty of polarizing content is that because it really will chime with a lot of people in your audience who perhaps are thinking exactly what it is that you're saying, but are a little bit nervous to actually say it themselves. This will encourage many people to hit that share button, either to share it with their communities via Instagram stories, or to send it on to somebody that they really think will benefit from that message. Whether it's friends and family or acquaintances in the DMZ, whether you are a service provider, a product-based business or creative or coach or a consultant. You can create content that will educate, inform, and inspire your audience. You don't just have to be a service provider or a thought leader. Tutorials how to use tips and tricks and mythbusting are all great ideas for educational content that your followers will want to save and reference later. And that's why with this type of content, the metric we expect to see the most of our saves because educational content by its very nature, is helpful, informative, and people will want to go back and reference it later. Whether it's a recipe, whether it's air and interiors hack, whether it is a bit of education around Instagram marketing, you can see why this content is inherently saleable in terms of what types of content are best for educational posts. Carousels and infographics are a great format because they're a really nice way of presenting information in a digestible way. But video content is also a fantastic medium for informative content. So things like reals, Instagram lives that you can save down as an IGTV permanently on your grid. Here's one example from the paint company lick. This is a time-lapse of somebody transforming their room with the help of licks, paint. And we get a really lovely before and after. And this really shows licks audience what is possible with their paint. This example from the content planner, a product-based business that sells physical planners to aid with content planning, share some key benefits of content planning in this real hair. And then we've got this carousel post from skincare brand dermatological about lactic acid, what it is, how it works when it should be used. And then this really lovely illustrated infographic about how to make friends from the just scar project community. If you are a creative or an artist, you're educational content might be more about educating your followers about your process. That could look like videos of your process, what goes into the making of your pieces, or even EU packaging up your work to send out to customers and clients. And if you're a product-based business, your educational content doesn't always have to revolve around or include your physical products. It could in fact speak to your brand values. For example, this carousel post from the jewelry brand misnomer. It isn't talking about jewelry, but it does tap into something that matters to the brand and which the brand knows matters to its target customers, the majority of which are women. And that is that failure is not a bad thing. And in fact, embracing failure is what makes us stronger, evolved, more interesting people in the end, the final post within their strategy framework is promotional posts. Now in these posts you bluntly promote your product or your service. If you're a service provider or a coach or a consultant, this might look like you talking about your availability. What programs or services do you have available and who are they best for if you are a product-based business or an eCommerce brand, What products do you have available to purchase right now? And what incentive do people have to get off the fence and make a decision? Do you offer free shipping? Is that a limited time only offer or perhaps you have a discount code available for new customers in terms of what content is best for promotional posts, anything goes really. But what I would say is that sharing testimonials is so, so important. Testimonials reviews from past customers and clients is one of the best ways that you are going to encourage other people in your audience to make a decision and purchase your product or invest in your service. If you are a product-based business, then UGC, user-generated content is also an incredibly powerful type of content to share alongside your promotional posts. Here's an example from the laundry and detergent brand Small, who shared a piece of customer feedback and review. Really simple. They just took a screenshot of this review and put it over a blue colored background. This is a great way of presenting reviews and testimonials. Doesn't have to be swanky, doesn't have to be really designed up. The great thing about this type of content and the way that it looks is that it does look really authentic and really genuine. Lindsay and Co. who sells a virtual assistant courses. She shared a promotional post with this simple text graphic that poses a really juicy question that has hurt audience are answering, raising their hand, saying yes, I want that. And it's going to encourage them to click on the caption to read more. Then we have this carousel post from the Sales Coach Katie prints. And within this carousel post, she was sharing one of her clients testimonials and feedback on working with Katie and enrolling in her program, sharing some of the amazing results that she experienced. And finally, this piece of UGC, user-generated content and the retail brand free people. You'll see in the accompanying worksheet that I have included some different ideas under each of these types of post personal polarizing, educational and promotional. And there is space there for you to start brainstorming your own ideas that fall under each of these category headings. Once you start adding your ideas to this worksheet, is going to make planning your content so much faster and so much easier. 5. Decide your posting cadence: Cadences important, so you have a really good idea of how much content you need to create for the next two weeks and the next two weeks after that, and so on. It also allows you to take control of your entire content creation process and break it up into smaller, bite-sized chunks, which we'll come on to in the next lesson. I recommend you publish three grid posts per week. And for Instagram Stories per week, that is a realistic cadence that most business owners can stick to you consistently. And if you can't stick to it consistently, it will help you grow long term. That means that for two weeks of content, you need to create a six grid posts and eight Instagram stories that might feel a little bit overwhelming right now, but not once you get into the habit of batching your content in terms of which posts out of those six grid posts are promotional versus personal versus educational and so on. That's really up to you. I recommend having a relatively equal spread of those posts throughout the two weeks so that you are meeting your followers where they're at, at the different stages of their customer journeys. And remember to check back in with the primary goal that you set at the beginning of this class so that you know your content is also helping you to move you one big step closer to achieving it. 6. Batch similar tasks & commit to your diary: The beauty of batching is that it allows you to use similar size of your brain as you work on tasks one at a time and a more productive and more efficient as you do so, compare this to the collective amount of time and energy you might be spending right now on creating one post where you have to think of the idea and then go and create the graphic or search for the photo, then drafts the caption, rethink the caption, edit the captions, search for hashtags, tweak the hashtags, recheck the graphic because there was a typo in there and then hit publish and wait with gritted teeth to see how that post performs. This, as you can see collectively is a huge amount of time and energy poured into one post batching, on the other hand, gives you a much greater output of content for half the time and energy required. So what does your next two weeks worth of great content look like of your six grid posts. How many are reals? How many a carousel post, how many of photos and so on. In my example, for the next two weeks, I need to create, to Instagram Reels, to carousel posts and find two photos using the worksheet to help you make a list of the associated tasks that go into the creation of each of those types of content. So for example, to make it to Instagram Reels, I need to first come up with the ideas for those wheels. Then I need to outline them, then I need to film them, edit them, design cover images, right? The captions, find some hashtags for the two carousel post. I need to come up with the ideas. Outline the carousels, design them in Canvas, right? The captions, find the hashtags and schedule them in later. Once I've made a list of all the tasks that go into the reals, the carousels, the photos. I'm going to see which tasks are most similar to one another and group them together. So the first task is actually planning to week's worth of content. So this is just me adding ideas into a content calendar so that I know the ideas for the next two weeks worth of content. And during that task, I'm actually also going to outline my Instagram Reels and my carousel posts. So that's all one task that I am going to commit to my calendar. My next task is going to be writing the captions for the next two weeks worth of content. So I'm going to write all of them at the same time. And that is six captions at once that I am going to write. The next task that I'm going to do is going to be designing the carousel graphics in Canva. And I'm also, while I'm doing that, go into design the cover images for my Instagram Reels because I can also do that in Canva. It's a similar task. It just looks a little bit different. So I'm going to group those two things together. So once I've grouped together at similar tasks and I've decided which ones I'm going to do at the same time, open up my diary and I find a suitable day and time to work on each of these tasks. So for planning two weeks worth of content and outlining two reals and to carousel post, I'm gonna give myself two hours on Friday morning, eight til 10:00 AM to film to reals. I'm gonna give myself one hour on Friday lunchtime at one PM till TPM. Now when you do this, don't be too overly optimistic about how long things will take you. Us humans generally, we think that things are going to take us a lot quicker than they actually do. And so be realistic. Give yourself enough time and space to complete the tasks. If you have time left over, amazing, but if you give yourself too little time, it's going to make your approach to content planning very stressful and you're going to end up being really flustered. Let me show you a quick example of what the output of step one in this batching process looks like when I completed it, which is planning the two weeks worth of content and outlining the reals and Carousel posts. This is what it looks like. And I have included a content calendar template so that you can take this away and start filling this in immediately with your two weeks worth of planned content. 7. What about Instagram Stories?: Most of today's lessons have been focused on grit content, because arguably, planning grid content takes more time and energy than Instagram Stories, which by their very nature are more in the moment. However, as you've already seen, I do recommend planning the ideas of your Instagram stories ahead of time so that you don't have to spend any time day-to-day coming up with ideas on the spot with two weeks worth of Instagram story ideas planned when the day rolls around to post to Instagram story, you know exactly what you are going to share me personally at the beginning of the week, I open up my content plan and I note down the Instagram story ideas that I have planned, adding them as diary reminders in my Google Calendar so that each morning, on the day that I've planned to share a story, a notification pops up on my phone with the idea that ready for me to share and any notes that I might have added to help me create the story faster. So for example, with this Instagram story idea about how to maximize just 20 minutes of time on Instagram on a daily basis. I've made rough notes about what I want to say and what I want to include. So one piece of advice I want to share is around setting a timer and other tip I want to share is the importance of replying to comments and DNS from existing followers rather than going out and trying to engage with cold leads. And finally, I want to talk about how to use Instagram stories stickers to your advantage. And I've also made a note there at the CTA. So these rough notes are rough notes that I made when I was doing step one of my planning batching tasks when the day rolls around to share this mini training on Instagram stories, it's so much faster and easier for me to pull together an Instagram story, either using text on a colored background or maybe text overlaid on some photos of me. Or I could even do to calm speaking directly to my audience tutorial. Now while that yes, we'll take five or 10 minutes to pull together. I haven't had to expand any energy or any time on trying to think of an idea which would have taken me at least 30 minutes had I not had any idea of what I was going to share before I did so. 8. Time for (fast) content creation: If you're brand new to batching content, than the feeling of overwhelm you might be experiencing is completely normal. It will take a bit of time and practice to streamline your efforts and to get faster at batching. So give yourself permission to just get started and to refine the process as you go to help you do this and become as efficient as possible at batching, planning and creating content. I recommend using a time tracking tool like toggle, so that you can actually track how long individual tasks are taking you. This means that when you do sit down to assign those tasks to your diary, as we did a couple of lessons ago, you will know exactly how long things will take you. There is no guesswork, and it will mean that you won't end up giving yourself way too little time to accomplish something. Or conversely, way too much time to do something that actually takes you no time at all when you are actually in the process of batching and creating content, turn off all distractions. Put your phone on, do not disturb. Get rid of all of the tabs on your desktop. If you are going to use your laptop to do this, give yourself the best chance of success. And really it just allow yourself to focus on the task at hand. Don't try to be perfect. Just get your ideas out on paper first and factor in time later to go back and edit that content with fresh eyes. And when you do go and edit your content and you are finalizing it, ready to be scheduled on the scheduling tool of your choice. Just make sure to check in with the purpose of every post. Is it super clear? Do you know what emotion you are trying to evoke in your reader? And, or do you know how this post is moving the needle for your business? Is it deepening relationships with your audience? Is it proving your authority and your expertise and educating your followers? Is it helping to convert them by making a sale or booking a sales call? And is it mapping backup to your primary goal on Instagram? 9. Analyse your Insights monthly: I couldn't make a class about content planning and not talk about Instagram insights. They are so important because they will make your content planning much easier, much faster, and much more successful. Insights are the best way to understand what your audience wants and to give them more of it. However, you can't properly use Instagram insights if you are not in the habit of sharing content consistently. Once you are in that habit and you shared one or two months worth of content consistently, that will give you a really good amount of insights to analyze and learn from the key insights to monitor our active forms of engagement, like shares, saves, comments, website clicks, product clicks. And dm's. We're not focused on likes. There are passive form of engagement. And the beauty of the strategy that we've walked through today is that you will have a much better idea of the metrics that you should expect to see when you plan and create your content with every post, be a personal or promotional or educational, you will know, are with that post, I'm expecting to see comments with that post. I'm expecting to see saves. And that means when you go into your Instagram insights at least once a month, you won't be surprised or confused by what you are seeing. You will have a better understanding of what those insights are showing you. Just remember that not every post is going to do well across the board. Not every post is going to be a winner in terms of sales and comments and shares and website clicks. And that's because every post you publish is serving a different purpose. So if you do go into Instagram insights and you see that a post has done really well for comments. But it hasn't done that well for any other metric. Don't stress if that post was designed to be more personal, more humanizing, or even if it was a little bit controversial and was designed to spark debate, then seen lots of comments and perhaps not so many of any other metric is absolutely normal. The only time to think about scrapping a particular type of post or topic or subject matter is if you have noticed over the last two or three months that that type of post or topic has consistently done poorly across the board. So it never generates much of any metric. That is the only time when I would say, think about maybe leaving that type of post that type of content on the back burner. And actually dialing up other types of content that are doing better. 10. Time-saving tools & templates: Once you get into a regular swing of content planning and creation, look at your entire content creation process from beginning to end and see which elements you could automate and optimized with tools and templates. If you can try to consolidate as much of the process together as you can. For example, have one content calendar that links easily to somewhere that you can write captions. That could be a tool like a table or it could be a template like a Google content calendar, like the one that I have shared as a resource with this class. And other easy part of the process to automate and optimize is designing a set of templates in Canvas or Adobe, or getting someone to design them for you. So that whipping up a set of graphics, whether that carousel posts or infographics, is easy and fast and it keeps your branding consistent. Some of my favorite content creation and planning tools include later for scheduling, Canva for designing graphics, Google Sheets for content planning. My iPhone for filming reels. In short, the editing reels and a phone stand to make the filming of my Instagram Reels much easier and much less stressful. 11. Next steps!: I hope you feel motivated to make content planning a regular part of your routine. And the benefits of a strategy that will get you results and we'll give you much needed distance between you and your content. Not only will this make your content more intentional, but it will give you back so much time day-to-day, that you can put back into growing your business and developing relationships with people that will turn them into customers and clients down the road. I would love to see the work that you've done during our time together, using the worksheets or sharing any examples of lessons that you've learned throughout this class, I can't wait to see how content planning positively impacts your business and your relationship with Instagram.