In this article we take you through our top actionable tips for getting out of a creative rut, to get you back making Instagram content for your followers.
When you are trying to grow your account on Instagram, it can be tough. Specifically, because the volume and frequency of posting can be so high on Instagram, that it’s hard to come up with new and unique ideas that stand out in an oversaturated market – and it’s easy to get in a creative rut. However, you know that Instagram can build your brand, grow your community and direct your message – but it shouldn’t be a necessary evil – it should be a creative outlet that you enjoy producing for.
Ask yourself: Why do people use and consume Instagram content in the first place? Is it to catch up with their favorite influencers? Explore new brands? Look at funny memes in their downtime? You need to first understand that your target audience isn’t necessarily on Instagram to be sold to. They are there to relax, learn, communicate, and discover.
In today’s blog post, we are going to cover how to come up with fresh content ideas for Instagram and get yourself out of a creative rut when you feel like you’ve hit a wall.
One of the best ways to avoid getting snowed under is by assuming that, at some point, it’s going to happen – and preparing for that. Like any 9-5, you have good days and you have bad days when it comes to Instagram. Just like not every post is going to outperform your last, you may have days where you can’t think creatively, come up with new ideas, or just don’t feel like posting. If you prepare for this, it makes it a lot more manageable to overcome. One of the best ways to do this is by setting yourself a posting schedule and preparing content ideas in advance.
You can also create a folder on your desktop or phone, where you have extra content that you have produced in the case of an Instagram emergency. In our last blog post, we went over how you can repurpose your content and make it go farther by turning one post into ten, so check that out for a great hack to optimize the content you create.
Sometimes it can be hard to think of content when you are putting pressure on yourself to come up with new ideas. Instead of always dedicating set sessions for ideation of new content, keep an open ‘tab’ on the notes section of your phone. Anytime you get a great idea for a piece of content, whether inspired by your everyday life or by something you see online – make a note of it which you can come back later to, to flesh out ideas. Even if it’s a late-night thought, add it to your list and come back to it later, so that you collect every idea you possibly can. When you feel yourself in a creative rut, take a look at your notes section, and see if there’s any great ideas you can use on Instagram.
Sometimes your Instagram content doesn’t have to be stylized and designed to perfection. Posting honest, real content often goes farther in building your community and really connecting with your audience. A tip that we learned from Chris Taylor is to document what you do in your day-to-day life because it could turn into a great content piece. For example, if you have a Zoom call with someone who might have interesting insights within your niche – record it and repurpose it for content at a later date.
Or, if someone says something truly inspiring, write it down, as you might be able to use it for quote assets at a later date. If you’re an influencer in the literature space, you could document your trip to the bookstore on your Stories, and show off your top picks for the month. The opportunities are endless if you think about your content in a more honest and multi-dimensional way.
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to excel on Instagram, and that’s what tools like Canva are for. They offer great template ideas if you aren’t sure what you want to post about, and can even give you inspiration in themselves. If you don’t have the creative energy to film and shoot something new, take a look back at some old content you might have posted, or think about something interesting you might be able to share through words.
Use a template on Canva (or a similar platform) to rework this content into something new that you can share with your users and add value to their feeds. The below picture is actually an older outfit photo from my personal feed, that I repurposed using Canva! We always recommend that you switch up the templates to match your personal style and branding so that it still stands out on Instagram.
Another way that you can refresh your mind, is by looking at other content within your niche, beyond the people you see every day on your feed. You might be missing sub-niches or inspiration for content ideas, so it’s useful to check out popular hashtags and see the types of trending content that exist within them. Let’s keep with the example that you are a literature influencer, and you look at the hashtag #booknerd. You might see that people are doing roundup carousels that summarize popular books, or maybe they are using famous quotes as pieces of shareable, saveable content. It’s a great way to reevaluate what you are already posting, and what you could try to incorporate into your strategy.
If you’ve prepared for a content rut and have posts that are ready to share, so that you don’t disrupt your posting frequency, it’s pretty easy to take a much-needed break. Anytime that you feel Instagram is having a negative impact on your mental health, creative freedom, or mindset, it’s probably time to take a step back and a break from posting. When you come back to it, you’ll probably have a fresh perspective on what you want to post. Remember – Instagram will always be there, and your mental health is more important than your feed!
We hope this helped you learn a little more about some applicable tips for how to get out of a creative rut on Instagram. Want to learn more about hashtags, and how to use them the right way for organic growth? Check out our free hashtag course below: