When creating a perfect 9 Grid on Instagram, the first thing to think about is how every posts fits together to tell a story. Much like an article in a magazine, you can think of each post as a piece to a larger story. The trick to creating a cohesive Instagram feed is making each post strong enough to stand on it's own, while still tying in to your other content.
Therefore, the place we want to start is to decide on the over-arching story of your 9 grid. What will the collection of 9 images be telling your potential Instagram Followers?
I created a 9 Grid Planning Guide for you to fill out to create your Story that you can download below.
Now that you have the STORY of your 9 grid down, it's time to plan out your visuals for your posts. Think of yourself as your brand's personal Creative Director of your "magazine". Your job is to gather up ideas and inspiration, choose the color palette, and set the general aesthetic of your 9 grid. Once you've collected these, laying them out in an organized fashion makes creating your art so. much. easier.
To help you with this step, I've created a free Visual Guide template to pop into Photoshop to help you organize your visuals. I've added some really fun example of this step in today's Facebook Post! If you're not a Photoshop user, I've added a link to a Canva layout to create a visual guide there too!
Now it's time for the moment of truth...creating your content! You've figured out your story, you've gathered up your inspiration in a handy visual guide, now let's do something with it.
The nice part is, you don't have to ONLY create original photos for this! There different categories of content you can share on Instagram...
1) Photos you take
2) Styled Stock photographs
3) Curated Content
4) Graphics you design in Photoshop, Canva, or use templates
As a bonus, I put together a sweet freebie with two styled stock images and one quote graphic that you can use for styled or curated content if it aligns with your visual guide!
I love using apps to see how all your content fits in to place. Before scheduling, I suggest using Iconosquare OR if you use Instagram as a business profile, you can check your analytics there. You want to know when the optimum time to post your content will be, so you have the best chance of the most eyes on your content. Iconosquare offers a free trial if you want to try it out and see what your current best engagement times are. I'll be sharing a peek at my chart on the Facebook Post on the Rosemary Watson | Productions page so you can see an example.
Once you write down the best times to post your content, you can start scheduling your images to see how your 9 grid will work. Preview App is a fantastic tool for this- I got to try it out and LOVE it, plus it's free with a ton of amazing upgrades like filters, borders, reposting, and more.
I've included a nice little chart to fill out your best posting times, with a video on Facebook today all about how to find your data and write it down.
Now that we have our 9 grid VISUALLY laid out, we have to go in and add in the words (COPY) that belong to the images in our posts. Luckily, this is easier now that we have decided on the Story in Day One of this Challenge. We are breaking up our over-arching 9 Grid Story into individual "chapters". What words need to be shared in each chapter to take someone through your story?
One thing you may be forgetting when adding in your copy is including "Calls To Action". This is asking your reader to do something, such as "give me a heart if..." or "tag someone who.." or "leave a comment with...". People love directions, so try and include these Calls To Action in as many posts as possible.
Since Calls To Action may be a new concept to some people, I've created a sweet list of my favorite Calls To Action so you can easily pick and plug in to your Instagram Posts!