If you want to dig deep, watch the video… but if you’re down with the Cliffs notes version of this lesson, here it is. 🎉

1. Goals

The first thing you always, always need to look at is your goals — in business, and on social media. What do you want to promote this quarter / month? Do you have any specific social media goals to support that? (Growing your audience, having more conversations, etc.)

If you want to grow your audience using reels, post educational content… as often as you can manage. If this is your primary goal, aim for 4-5 reels per week. (Yes, that’s a lot!)

If you are more keen on nurturing your existing audience using reels, make them relatable. Frequency is less important for this goal.

2. Topic / Theme

When you know what you’re trying to accomplish in your business, it’s much easier to come up with a topic or theme for the quarter, month, or week that you’re tackling. How can you relate to your audience? How can you establish your expertise? Then, it’s a logical step to…

Brainstorm headlines

This is where you get EVERYTHING out of your head, whether it’s applicable to your topic or not. Spend 5-10 minutes coming up with a list of headlines… and when you think you’re all out of ideas, commit to another 3-5 minutes.

Then, choose your favourites.

If your goal is four reels a week (a lofty goal!), make 2-3 of them as easy as you can and invest more time into the other 1-2. This is how you can pump out more reels while keeping things somewhat sane. The less research you have to do, the better. You want to create reels on topics you’re very comfortable talking about.

(Having a hard time coming up with a headline? Check the sound cheatsheet — having a list of sounds to choose from may provide a spark of inspiration!)

3. Format

Once you have an idea of what you’re going to cover in the “meat” of your content, you can structure it to be entertaining as well. A huge part of the magic of reels is being able to educate and entertain at the same time!

4. Transitions

Depending on the format, you may be able to throw in some transitions to keep your reel visually engaging — this will boost your watch time and Instagram will push it out to more people.

5. Scripting

Reels can be quite scripted. For regular video content, it’s okay to meander a little more — but reels are 30-60 seconds tops. Every moment you have comes at a premium. Know what needs to come out of your mouth, and tighten it up as much as you can.

When creating your script, you might find you have more to say than you can in 30 seconds. That doesn’t mean you have to leave it out; simply add it to the caption. Which brings us to…

6. Captions, Hashtags, and Covers

Either send yourself an email for each reel or use an app like Evernote to store your captions, hashtags, and cover images. That way everything is handy when you’re ready to hit publish!

7. Filming & Editing

Keep it manageable, but batch your reels if you can. Especially once you get into transitions and props, it’s so much easier to have everything handy and only set up / clean up / get into the flow zone once.

Set a timer before you start filming! That way you won’t

The native IG app is so, so buggy when it comes to reels, so use a third party video editing app. (I love InShot!) As soon as I shoot a segment, I’ll either pull it into InShot and label the draft OR I’ll take notes on my shot list (just a sheet of paper) so that I know which video belongs to what. Less time scrambling around to find the right take

Anything you can do in your notes or on your phone prior to editing is going to save you time in the long run — well worth the effort.

8. Publish!

Edit and save as a draft as soon as you can after you film, because it prevents a whole lot o’ overthinking down the road. The less you look at it between filming and publishing, the better. (Perfectionists, I see you. I am you. Haha)

Batching Your Reels

You’ve heard it a million times. Batching is efficient.

But you are also a Real Human with a life.

I get that.

The key to batching is to bite off chunks that are manageable to you — even if it means they’re smaller. You can also batch pieces of the process, instead of start-to-finish batching.

There are two ways you can batch your reels:

  1. Everything, start to finish, in one afternoon. If that means one week at a time, start there.
  2. Splitting out pieces of the process is another great approach! So pull out Steps 1-5 in one day, Step 6 on another, and 7-8 on a third day.

If you can bite off a whole month, go for it. I like to outline full quarters, then plan & schedule a month of newsletters, blog posts, and the IG grid… and tackle 3-4 reels in one afternoon every week.

Bonus Items

IDEA CHEATSHEETS – Formats, Transitions, and Headlines

Video Lesson