How I come up with content for Instagram (Free download!)

May 27, 2021


It's no secret that I love Instagram and that I spend waaaaaay too much time on it. But sometimes it feels like Instagram doesn't love me back. And when that happens it can be hard not to relive my years of teenage angst, going out of my way to be someone I'm not just to seek some sort of approval or validation.

That's when I start to question everything I make and say and do. This is an open and honest space, I think we can all admit that we've been preoccupied with likes and follows.

A few weeks ago I was feeling really really really unloved by Instagram. And I was somewhere between, dramatically breaking up with it, or changing every single thing about myself my account/art.

That's when I took a break and checked in with myself, on why I start stitching and why I wanted to share my stitching online. And I realised I don't need Instagram to love me. I don't need hundreds of thousands of followers. Much like I came to learn in my late teens, I don't need the popular guy, and everyone at school to like me. I just need to find the right bunch of people for me. And in real life, and on Instagram, I count myself lucky enough to have that. 

And so I stopped thinking about what content could I make for Instagram as a whole, and instead what could I make for the right bunch? That's when I quickly knocked up this little content planning system.

THAT sounds very Instagram doesn't it? Don't worry I'm not about to start offering coaching services, I just thought some of you might like this too. So here now, is how I come up with content for my Instagram. And super importantly, how I come up with content for my Instagram that supports my art, and who I am, not content that dictates it. 


Either download this pdf I knocked up (which you can use on good notes on your iPad or print out) and then skip ahead to STEP 3OR more simple... grab a piece of paper and draw out a table with five columns and five rows


Along the first row, enter the following headings... one in each column 'Subjects that interest my ideal audience,' 'Posts,' 'Stories,' 'Reels,' 'Other'


Under column 1 'Subjects that my ideal audience are interested in' write out one subject in each box. The key here is to think about that IDEAL audience or your "bunch of people". Boxes one and two are probably going to be really obvious, but to keep it specific to you, don't just write down one big word, quantify it a little. So for example my first box was obviously, Embroidery, but there's a whole world of embroidery out there so I then put in brackets "modern, architectural, mixed media" just to keep it specific to me. Three and four might be something that a smaller proportion of your audience are interested in, but an important proportion, so for me box three was Manchester, or it might be something that is really important to who you are as a person. My box four was 'mental health and well being.'


Ok, this step is probably pretty obvious, but this is there to help you on those days, where you're either not sure what to post, or you feel like your publishing everything and anything. You're going to go along each column and come up with ideas for each bit of Instagram that relates to your four subjects.

Again your first line is probably going to be really obvious - nearly everything I post is embroidery related somehow, but it really helped me to think about the different ways I could communicate the different aspects of my embroidery. So I'm obviously sharing a lot of finished pieces, but my ideal bunch of people would also be interested in how that hoop was made, the different stitches I used, where I got the inspiration for the design. 

I also found it really interesting to think about where were the cross overs in subjects. So obviously, a lot of my embroidery is inspired by Manchester, but I've never really shared how I decide on which buildings to do, or shown the behind the scenes of when I go to take my 'in the street' photos. 

I know this technique is far from groundbreaking BUT it really helped me re-focus on what I wanted to share and why and it allowed me to let go of that 'but do people really want to see this fear?' Because I was clear on why I was sharing things, and know that no, not ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE will care about how I designed something, or what my favourite cafe to work in is... but the right people will.

Download the content planner here

I hope this helps! And let me know over on Instagram if you have any more questions! Stephie x

ps. If you found this super useful and wanted to leave me a tip or buy me a coffee to say thanks, you can do so by donating to my Ko-Fi page!