- Creating an Instagram content calendar involves defining your goals, understanding your audience, and planning your content themes, formats, topics, and posting times.
- Use a spreadsheet or tool to plan, create, and schedule your Instagram posts and track their performance with Instagram Insights or a third-party tool.
- When planning your IG content, aim for a mix of promotional and engaging content, and adjust your content calendar based on trends and key performance metrics like reach and engagement.
- Use Instagram content planning tools like Later and Sprout Social to schedule your posts in advance, and save time.
Are you struggling to keep up with your Instagram posting schedule? Do you find yourself scrambling to come up with content ideas at the last minute?
If so, it’s time to start using an Instagram content calendar.
In this post, I’ll show you:
- How to create an Instagram content calendar that will help you stay organized, plan ahead, and consistently post high-quality content.
- Instagram content calendar examples and templates to inspire yours.
- Instagram content calendar planning tools to make your job easier.
Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, Instagram influencer, or just anyone looking to grow your IG account, this guide is for you. Read on!
Why Should You Create an Instagram Content Calendar?
Creating an Instagram content calendar is the best way to stay ahead of time, plan your posts in advance, and post value-adding content more often.
Here’s how having an Instagram content calendar can help you:
- Stay organized. You can keep track of what you’re posting and when. It allows you to note down all of your content ideas for Instagram, batch-create your content, and avoid last-minute multitasking to come up with something to post.
- Schedule your posts ahead of time using social media scheduling tools (I use Buffer!). This will help you post content when your audience is most active on the platform without having to log in every day.
This is especially important if you’re managing multiple accounts either on Instagram alone or on multiple social media channels.
- Maintain a consistent posting schedule. Whether you decide to post once every day or thrice a week, consistency is the key to Instagram growth. And the best way to do so is to plan your posts ahead of time.
- Take some time off. When you’ve created and scheduled your Instagram content in advance, you can relax during your vacation.
No need to log into your work accounts late at night or early morning when you’re on your much-awaited trip to the mountains!
It’s more like self-care for social media professionals or entrepreneurs and influencers handling their IG accounts firsthand.
- Improve the quality of your content. When you plan your content in advance, you can invest more time into content creation and curation. And think of ways to add value and make it engaging and visually appealing.
- Create content for important holidays. You have enough time to keep an eye on the special calendar days and align your content strategy with them.
You can use Google Calendar to track holidays.
- Save time by using Instagram content planning and scheduling apps and platforms to plan and bulk schedule your posts. It will take much less time than what you would otherwise invest in creating one post a day.
- Identify opportunities for collaboration. You’ll have enough time to reach out to brands and influencers who fit your content theme for the month. You can co-create content to reach and engage each other’s audience.
How to Create an Instagram Content Calendar
Now that you’ve seen how helpful an Instagram content calendar can be, it’s time to start creating one for your own account.
With a little bit of effort, you can take your Instagram presence to the next level. Let me show you how to plan your posts in advance and ensure they are consistent, engaging, and aligned with your overall brand strategy.
Step 1: Conduct Your Instagram Account and Content Audit
Before you start planning your Instagram content calendar, it’s important to get a clear picture of your account and the content you’ve posted to date.
While auditing your Instagram profile, check out:
- How optimized your Instagram profile is, including your:
- Instagram handle – easy to remember
- Profile picture – high-quality headshot
- Name – include keyword
- Instagram bio – who you are, what you do, how you’ll help your audience
- Links – direct users to important pages such as your website, email, etc. (IG lets you add up to 5 links and you can use Linktree for more links addition.)
- Contact options – email
- Highlights – simple and organized
- Brand colors and fonts in your IG content
- Who your target audience is
- Their demographics, interests
- The type of content they prefer and engage with
- What are your goals and KPIs for the next six months?
- Grow followers and reach
- Or, increase the engagement rate
- Or, drive traffic to your website
- Your current IG content posting schedule, including
- Posting frequency
- Posting times
- How they impact engagement and conversions
- Which days and times get the highest engagement
- Your most successful posts
- The posts and Stories with maximum engagement
- The type of content your audience loves
- The hashtags that work well
You can also use Instagram audit tools for this purpose.
Getting a firm understanding of your account will give you clarity about your account’s current positioning. You’ll be in a better position to strategize for improvement and growth.
Step 2: Determine Your Instagram Marketing Strategy
Without a clear Instagram marketing strategy in place, it can be difficult to create content that resonates with your target audience and drives meaningful engagement.
You should put together a strategy in place to have clarity about:
- The purpose of your Instagram account
- A theme or style that can represent the essence of your brand
- The tone of voice you want to use to communicate with your audience (should align with your brand’s core values)
- Your audience and what they want to learn about or shop
- The posting frequency you’ll be able to keep up with based on the resources you have
- The best posting times for your account based on past user activity
- The types of content you want to post (educational, entertaining, etc.)
- The IG content formats you want to leverage (choose a few to start with such as photos, videos, carousels, Stories, and Reels)
- The people who’ll be accountable for posting and engaging with your audience
Once you’ve determined the above, it will be easier to create content that is purposeful, effective, and aligned with your overall marketing goals.
Step 3: Define Your Content Themes or Pillars
Think about the topics that align with your brand and audience and create pillars or themes that align with them.
For example, if you are a fashion brand, your content pillars might be:
- Outfit inspiration
- Style tips
- Behind-the-scenes stories
- New styles launched
- Promotional discounts on your products
- Fashion industry news
- User-generated content – influencers and customers styled in your products
Keep a balance between promotional and informative or entertaining content to keep your audience engaged and not seem salesy.
Step 4: Map Out Your IG Content Calendar
You’re almost ready to start planning your Instagram content. You have a lot of ideas but now it’s time to put them together in an organized way.
Make sure that your content calendar includes details about:
- Publish date
- Content type – educational, promotional, etc.
- Content format – photo, video, carousel, Reels, Stories, Live
- Assets – images, videos
- Accounts to tag (if any)
- URL of the published post
- Who is responsible for each aspect
But where should you put all this information?
You have several options:
- Use a spreadsheet via Google Sheets or Excel to create your calendar.
- Choose a social media scheduling tool to plan and organize your content.
- Use one of the best Instagram content calendar planning tools (added later in this article).
- Pick one from my list of pre-designed Instagram content calendar templates (also added later in this post) to get started.
Step 5: Create Your Instagram Content
Based on your plan, create the actual content to post. You can start with creating 3-4 weeks of content together.
- Create a mood board for your Instagram feed. You’ll find several mood board ideas on Pinterest.
- Create high-quality graphics and videos. Use a good camera, lighting, and editing software to create polished content that stands out on Instagram.
- Write engaging and informative captions to go with them. Consider including emojis, hashtags, and CTAs to increase engagement.
As you can see above, adding spaces in your IG caption can make it more readable.
- Research hashtags relevant to the topic of your post and your niche (in general). You can use hashtag generators for this.
Use a mix of relevant and popular hashtags to help more people discover your content.
- Find user-generated content (UGC) that is a good fit to incorporate into your content plan. It will add authenticity and diversity to your content.
You can also run a branded hashtag campaign to encourage users to share their photos or videos using your products.
Step 6: Schedule Your Instagram Content
Once you’ve planned and created your content for the month, use a social media scheduling tool to schedule your Instagram content in advance.
Some of the tools you can use include:
- Sprout Social
Scheduling your content in advance will help you save time and ensure that you are posting consistently.
Step 7: Monitor and Measure Your IG Content Performance
Just creating and scheduling posts isn’t enough. You also need to keep track of how well your posts are performing.
You should track metrics like:
- Follower growth
- Engagement rate
- Likes, comments, shares, and saves on your posts and Reels
- Number of likes, reactions, and replies to your Stories
- Number of posts created using your branded hashtag
Analyzing your content performance will help you make data-driven decisions about how to optimize your strategy for the coming month or quarter.
5 Best Instagram Content Calendar Templates
If you're finding it difficult to start planning your content from a blank screen, these five best Instagram content calendar templates can help simplify the process.
With customizable options, these templates offer a simple and effective way to plan and organize your content. Plus, they are available for download, helping you get started right away!
- Manychat has a well-thought-out Instagram content calendar template. It is not only organized but color-coded, making it easier to plan and review your content for different IG formats.
You can enter your ideas to start with for each content format and then move on to actual content creation.
- Airtable offers a downloadable content calendar template not just for Instagram but all social networks. You can easily add information about the status of your post, caption, image, video, and the person responsible for it, in multiple columns.
- The next Instagram content calendar template on my list is from HubSpot. It provides you with an overall view of your IG content for the month. It’s color-coded to help you differentiate between different content formats.
You can use this template for planning content for other social networks as well.
- This content calendar template by Hootsuite helps you strategize your content plan for multiple social networks and lets you keep a tab on your evergreen content.
You can see both monthly and weekly views of your content plan in one place.
- Canva's Instagram content calendar template includes a calendar view with sections for content ideas, captions, hashtags, and post timing. You can customize its design to match your brand's aesthetics.
5 Best Instagram Content Calendar Examples for Your Inspiration
Looking for inspiration for your Instagram content calendar?
Check out these five examples of well-planned and visually stunning Instagram content calendars.
- This Instagram content calendar from Plann has a mix of promotional posts, reposts of customer reviews, quotes, educational posts, and giveaways. It will help make your feed refreshing.
You can pick one promotional product for the season and work your content around that.
However, this calendar is specifically for businesses or someone who has a product to sell.
- Remember the color-coded Manychat IG content calendar template above? I’ve especially picked this example to help you visualize how to use that template in an efficient way.
- This weekly Instagram content calendar by Manychat prioritizes the type of content you plan to publish.
It is particularly effective when you aim to share various content types at different times of the day. For example, you might schedule a feed post for noon and Instagram Reels for 6 pm.
- Here’s a snapshot of a few days from VidzMak’s Instagram content calendar. As you can see, it includes individual content cards, each with a specific goal.
It also displays details about the status of the content, the type of post, and posting times.
You can customize it depending on unique Instagram account growth goals.
- If you're the type of person who prefers simple solutions like sticky notes to complicated Excel spreadsheets, you may find this Instagram content calendar example particularly appealing.
It provides an effortless way to jot down your ideas for Instagram content and organize them.
Once you've established this foundation, you can easily transform your ideas into actual posts (image/video + caption).
You can even include a specific posting time and date to ensure your content is published at the optimal time.
Top 3 Instagram Content Calendar Planning Tools and Apps
Keeping up with Instagram content planning can be overwhelming.
Here are some Instagram content calendar planning tools and apps that can help streamline your planning process and boost your productivity:
Later’s visual Instagram feed planner is a perfect treat for social media enthusiasts. You can create and preview posts as they would look on your feed.
The best part is that you can rearrange them with a simple drag and drop. This will help you visualize the final output, even before you schedule your IG content.
What are the other features you get with this IG content planner?
- Get monthly and weekly views of your Instagram content plan.
- Schedule all kinds of Instagram posts – including simple photos, videos, carousels, Reels, and Stories.
- Bulk schedule multiple posts at once.
- Plan your IG content a week or months ahead.
- Get unlimited photo and video storage.
- Generate captions in seconds with Later’s AI Caption Writer.
- Research and add hashtags to your posts.
- Starter plan: $18/month | 1 user, 1 social set
- Growth plan: $40/month | 3 users, 3 social sets
- Advanced plan: $80/month | 6 users, 6 social sets
- A social set is a set of social profiles (1 of each – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn)
Hootsuite is a smart social media content calendar planner that lets you create, schedule, and publish your content, all from the same dashboard.
You can use Hootsuite to perform several tasks along with planning your content:
- Identify the best times to post using your account’s analytics data.
- Generate captions and post ideas by entering a simple prompt into their OwlyWriter AI.
- Plan and schedule hundreds of posts ahead of time.
- Take a quick glance at your scheduled and published content to help you identify and fill content gaps.
- Get hashtag suggestions to increase your content’s reach.
- Professional plan: $99/month | 1 user, 10 social accounts
- Team plan: $249/month | 3 users, 20 social accounts
- Business plan: $762/month | 5 users, 35 social accounts
- Enterprise plan: Custom pricing | Starts at 5 users, 50 social accounts
Sprout Social helps you plan and schedule your Instagram content, and even engage with your posts. It lets you tag products, respond to comments, monitor hashtags, and generate performance reports.
With Sprout Social, you can make Instagram marketing a breeze.
- Get a calendar view of your content plan.
- Schedule your Instagram posts, Stories, and Reels directly from Sprout Social.
- Publish your content at optimal times based on data-driven insights into your account and content performance.
- Tag people and assign tasks in the dashboard for quick approvals and content planning.
- Track hashtag campaigns and source user-generated content for your brand.
- Manage multiple Instagram profiles from one place.
- Standard plan: $249/month | 5 social profiles
- Professional plan: $399/month | Unlimited social profiles
- Advanced plan: $499 per month | Unlimited social profiles
- Enterprise plan: Custom pricing
Take Control of Your Instagram Growth with a Content Calendar
Creating an Instagram content calendar may seem like a daunting task at first, but it’s worth the effort.
By taking the time to plan out your content in advance, you’ll be able to:
- Post consistently.
- Engage with your audience.
- Find room for time off.
- Identify collaboration opportunities.
- Improve content quality and user engagement.
- Achieve your marketing goals.
With the help of the tips and tools outlined in this article, you’ll be able to create an Instagram content calendar that works for you and your audience.
However, you should conduct regular audits of your account and content to ensure that you’re on track and heading in the right direction.
With a well-planned Instagram content calendar, you’ll be able to take control of your posting schedule and grow your presence.
So why wait? Start creating your Instagram content calendar today!