According to recent stats, brands with a documented content strategy perform better, have higher ROI, and can more efficiently calculate their content marketing budget spending. Content strategy on Instagram will allow you to assess your content gaps, come up with evergreen ideas, avoid being dull with Instagram content, and think through your activities in advance.

Content strategy, along with the content plan and calendar, allows you to assess your spending, maintain your objectives and spend less time creating content and thinking about it.

In this article, we’ll consider three pillars of content marketing on Instagram: strategy, plan, and calendar.

The Difference Between Content Strategy, Content Plan & Content Calendar

🟣Content strategy defines your overall content goals and your steps to achieve them. For example, when you create a content strategy for Instagram, you can divide it into several parts, such as goals, Instagram competitors, types and forms of content you want to publish, etc. We’ll talk about the crucial elements of a content strategy below.

🟣Content plan defines the types and topics of content you're going to publish to fulfil your strategy.

🟣Content calendar tracks when you post the content from your plan. Often a content calendar and a content plan are two things merged into one.

Content Strategy Frameworks

There are plenty of content strategy frameworks that come in handy when you need to structure your goals and ideas. Choose any to your liking or combine several frameworks to have a unique strategy.

3H Framework

This framework was initially developed by the YouTube team for their marketers. 3H stands for three Hs: Hero, Hub, and Help (sometimes referred to as How To). Of course, there are now also similar strategies that work on the same principle, such as 5H, 8H, etc. But this 3H framework is a basis. What are these three Hs, after all?

Hero: Content that works to increase your reach and all other metrics. This content type is rather challenging to create as it's often time-consuming. Examples of Hero content include special projects and partner promotions, collaborations with influencers and other brands, as well as significant events. Anyway, that's anything you can't do too often.

Hub: Content you publish on a regular basis, you routine content activities, such as stories, posts, and Reels.

Help: Useful content that is super valuable for your audience; content that answres customers' questions and works with their concerns.

This framework is an excellent choice for businesses with an extensive content team. However, this strategy might be difficult to maintain if you have lots of real-time marketing activities.

Agile Framework

If your company produces content as it is on a regular basis and there is no lack of diverse guides, videos, and infographics in your content backlog, then you can use this agile approach to posting. The thing about this approach is that you don't have special topics or a content matrix to create content. This framework is perfect for small businesses and content teams who make content regularly without constant supervision before publishing.


Every marketer has heard about the Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action cycle. This scheme is quite the same, with a couple of additional stages.

  • Awareness. Content pieces aimed at answering the questions your potential customers may have at the top of the funnel as they become more aware of their problems and needs. Demand generation content can also be included in this stage. Such posts tell your brand story, educate, inform, or entertain your audience.
  • Consideration: Your potential audience already knows about your product or service. Consideration pieces help them understand that something you’re offering is ready to solve their problems.
  • Decision: Social proof, case studies, reviews, testimonials, and product use cases can be used to help your audience decide and get converted.
  • Retention: To make your current clients stay with you and never leave in favour of competitors, implement new features and tell your audience about them, create video guides on how to use your product, reveal some nonobvious and hidden features of it, answer their questions on live webinars and streams, etc. This content’s aim is to show you’re there and care about your clients.
  • Advocacy: These are pieces that highlight such parts of your brand or product that may transform customers into evangelists. Behind-the-scene content, your values and how you protect them, and charity-related content might be a few to name.

8 Steps to Develop Content Strategy

Let’s briefly touch on the steps you need to take when working on the content marketing strategy for Instagram.

1. Define Your Goal

Create a list of objectives you want to achieve with your Instagram content. Grow followers, increase ER, reach, website traffic, and other things you’d find relevant.

2. Define Who the Content Is For

Your content will work if you know who you’re making it for. This is especially crucial if you’re just launching your product, service or brand.

💡Check our guide on how to find your target audience on Instagram with Combin Growth.

Some additional methods to discover your audience are to research your competitors, outreach influencers who you think share your potential customers, and create polls and surveys to question existing clients on what they’d like to see on your Instagram page.

3. Run a Content Audit

Analyse your current Instagram content, define your strong and weak points, check if this content matches your goals, and determine what you should post next. Remember to embrace all kinds of content Instagram currently offers, don't limit yourself only with feed posts.

You can also have the audit run by professionals like Combin. With the InstaCheck Instagram audit, we'll prepare unique recommendations valid for your account and give dedicated advice on how you can improve your content.

4. Define Which Content You Want to Prepare

As we’ve already mentioned above, you shouldn’t disregard all content types that Instagram currently has at its disposal. Yet, if you think (or already know for sure) some specific content form works worse for your audience or is extremely difficult to make, you can create a certain type of content more often than others.

5. Create a Content Matrix

Make a backlog of topics and formats you want to post on Instagram.

💡In one of our previous articles, we’ve revealed how you can make a content matrix and find ways to never lose your creative flow.

6. Create a Content Plan & Content Calendar

Choose a tool that will help you manage your Instagram content schedule with all topics and formats you want to post in the upcoming month and plan them for publication. One of such tools is Combin Scheduler.

Planning Instagram posts ahead saves time, keeps your content in the limelight, and increases your productivity.

Combin Scheduler, unlike many other content planning tools, actually posts content for you, not sends you reminders to post it manually. Use Combin Scheduler to auto-publish posts and stories while you're asleep or away.

Follow the steps below to schedule posts to your Instagram account.

  1. Install Combin Scheduler. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  2. Log in to your Instagram account within Scheduler.
  3. Once you are logged in, Scheduler automatically locates you at the posts scheduling page. Click Add New Post at the bottom of the application window to start planning your post.
  4. Drag and drop images or click Choose Photo to select pictures for the post.
  5. Add text for caption into the input field. Intervals, paragraph breaks, symbols and emoji will remain unchanged in the published post.
  6. If you want to, you can tag location in the post. Type the name of the place into the Location input field.
  7. Select the posting date and time. Scheduler synchronises with the timezone of your OS.
  8. Click Post Now. Your post will be published at the scheduled time.

7. Think About Paid Content

Influencer marketing, branded content on Instagram, and collaborations with other brands can also be engaging add-ons to your Instagram content strategy. Find relevant channels where you’d like to sponsor content or boost some top-performing posts on Instagram with its native promotion tool.

8. Analyse Your Efforts

Even a good and well-thought-out strategy is a dead end without analytics. Define which metrics are crucial for you and track their progress. Native Instagram Insights tool allows you to track the content performance and see how other metrics (not content-related ones) grow as well.

💡Check our guide to see how to define Instagram metrics and ways to track them.

Instagram Content Strategy & Content Plan: Bottom Line

Each brand defines its own steps on the way to the perfect content marketing strategy and posts that actually work. Just as they do with the content marketing frameworks, content plans, and calendars. We've highlighted steps we find relevant and necessary for the stable content flow. You can use them as a starting point to develop your own and unique strategy that'll work for you and be different from competitors.