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I'M ASHLYN

I've been called the OG of copywriters for creatives, wink—I hook up women with words as a launch copywriter & brand strategist. Even while raking in more than 7-figures since I've been at it, I believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you.
 
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February 26, 2021

How to Pre Launch on Instagram: My 4 Part Instagram Content Calendar Plan

Reading time: 9 min.

It’s time to put your Instagram pre-launch strategy in place! What worked in 2016 is NOT going to work with your Instagram content strategy in 2021. One of the big vehicles as you execute and turn out your launch copy and content, sure as heck, is social media—Instagram specifically.

An email subscriber that gets my weekly Dogear newsletter asked me this: “How do you know how to schedule your marketing plan and how much energy to put into each part like email marketing vs social media vs your lives?” And then subscriber, Christine justttt went for the juggler and said this: “Is social media absolutely necessary for success in 2021 and beyond?”

If this is you… you’re trying to figure out your pre-launch strategy or a marketing campaign strategy using good old social media, darling Instagram ;), you’re in the right place. Today, I am going to show you how I would suggest that you schedule your prelaunch calendar in Instagram with this suggested 4 part Instagram content calendar plan.

What to Post on Instagram During Your Launch | Ashlyn Writes

Also, be sure to read until the end, I’m showing you behind the scenes of the app that I use—I’ve been using it since 2017—to tell me *exactly* when I should post, according to my ideal posting time. It’s not led me astray yet!

Ok, so, let’s pretend that you’re my client and I’m sharing what I would recommend you craft as your pre-launch marketing plan for your Instagram lives, strategy, and must-have content.

Let’s break down these steps of what to do to pull people into the launch copy in that funnel that you’ve worked ~sooo~ hard to create.

primed to launch playbook


 


Instagram Pre Launch Strategy No. 1| Schedule Editorial Calendar

First step in my pre launch Instagram strategy: schedule your editorial calendar. I’m going to start by planning 6-8 weeks back from the launch itself and craft that content. I already know what the big hero piece of content is going to be for this 6-8 weeks, so i’m backing off those in my posting plan.

This is my tried and true philosophy—it works. Thousands of you have proved it, but if this is new and you haven’t heard me talk about my philosophy before about backing up and having this Quarterly Champagne Campaign system, then make sure you check out this video.

If you are in Primed to Launch™ you have access to this calendar, but I take it old school. I print out 6-8 copies of this piece of paper that’s inside. I love digital tools, but this just helps me get out of my head in a way from all the tabs of the internet and look at these six pieces, eight pieces, look at what the hero content is going to be each week.

Pre-launch Instagram Content Calendar Example

Then go ahead and start to pencil around with ideas of things that I could post about. Now, once this is good to go, I’m gonna load what’s on these pieces of paper into Asana and an app that I use called Plann  to schedule out Instagram content.

But first, let’s have a timeout.

We need to talk about what IS working and what is NOT working on the app—what worked in 2016 for a lot of us is NOT going to work here in 2021.

My friend Elise Darma is so great at teaching this. ****Follow her RIGHT NOW.**** Her Instagram education is incredible. She said this, “Gone are the days of perfectly posed or edited images. Instagram is no longer a place for photographers to show their snaps, but a content hub of videos, memes, lives, and reality TV like Stories.” 

What this means for us as we’re sketching out our Instagram plan is that we need to listen to the experts on this. Which, BTW, don’t listen to me, I’m not an Instagram expert! I go to them to see what’s working and what’s not working.

They are predicting that photo only feeds for just using those static grid images, that’s gonna kill our engagement. I’m about to tell you the four-part Instagram content calendar, I would recommend you have, but it includes videos. I just wanted to throw that out there. You need to be on video and using video if you aren’t already, even if it’s just 15 second story clips.

Customers and prospects buy from brands they feel connected to and that is the quickest way to speed up that trust factor. Start on stories, then move to reels. Check out our launch & funnel copy client Nicole, who’s KILLING it on reels, since short-form videos like TikTok and Instagram Reels will rise in popularity in 2021 (more on reels in tip 2 because PSA: I’m freaked out, too!!).  BUT we are going to see faster growth in 2021 if we use these two free tools that are sitting here and ready to be used in the arsenal of Instagram.

Ashlyn Writes—prelaunch instagram strategy

Okay, so again, pretending you’re my client, here is the posting schedule of four different things I would recommend that you do:

Four Part Instagram Posting Schedule:

  • 2-5 static square posts/week. Now, 1-2 of those is going to be tied into that hero piece of content that you’re turning out. Again for more background on what I’m talking about when I mentioned this Hero piece and these six to eight domino pieces that you need to create, watch this video specifically at the 5:27 mark.
  • Daily stories (obviously 1 day will be tied to hero content)
  • 1 weekly reel
  • 1 weekly IGTV or live (tied to hero content … if not, a flat-out repost of it). This helps fight Zoom fatigue with short actionable self-paced learning videos … ads that are using short videos or Instagram Reel are cutting CPM’s (cost per thousand impressions) in half.

By the way, I’ve done a full training about getting your Instagram bio ready, you can check it out right here. I’d go ahead and make sure keywords are plugged into my bio!

Ok, next up, let’s talk creating the content.

<< Related: How to Batch Plan 30 Days of Instagram Content in 1 Day >>


Instagram Pre Launch Strategy No. 2| Creating the content.

Here, we want to leverage the right neighborhoods and craft that content. I just showed you the weekly content rhythm that I would plan to use if I were going into launch. Next step is actually building and creating that content. I am a huge fan of batching content. I am *borderline* fanatical about my time so this is the best use of it. This is why I loooove that hero piece of content method I teach *so* much because I can take that and stretch it out. It makes me look like I am online more and creating more content than I actually am. Win/win 😉

I consider it the ultimate compliment when someone says, “You create content all the time, how do you have time to do anything else? You’ve got so much stuff posting online.” Here is the secret: I don’t really ever use or open Instagram on my phone unless it is to capture something that I could use and post later as a story. I reallllly only just use Instagram on my laptop and on my desktop. This is so helpful because the times when I DO want to be on social media a lot, normally leading into a launch, I’m just excited and have something that I want to share and talk to people about.

BUT during these times when I just don’t really want to, I can lean on this as well. So there’s my plug again for this process. You can also check out this post where I talk about exactly how I repurpose content.



Now, as I’m creating content for things like stories themselves and even things like Facebook posts every week, I like to give myself prompts for this to give my brain some jogs or ideas on things that I could create little stories about. One tip I absolutely recommend that you do as you’re leading into a launch is to include polls. For two reasons…

#1: For a crowdsourcing reason. This is gonna cut out that guessing game and make it a whole lot easier to craft content leading into your launch.

#2: You can survey ideas that you have for the thing you’re creating itself. People will straight up tell you what they want and what they don’t want. I love using stories for this. Here as an example—I was leading into a pre-launch and it was so helpful and it got people excited. I breadcrumbed them in the concept that this stuff was coming down the pipeline. Plus 58% of people in a group said that they visited a brand’s website to buy a product or service after they saw it in the story.

One last tip, let’s talk about reels. Comment below with how you’re feeling about reels or if you’ve tried them yet. I told my mastermind last week, I feel like I will just be that pats-on-head millennial if I start doing reels because it won’t be cool enough or they won’t be funny enough. Bahaha. Soooo if you’re feeling weird about it, I get it. I am too, but they’re six months old and they are here to stay. It is a fast-track way to make it to the explore page. Instagram’s pushing constant creators that are building 4 to 6 reels a week. We can start small and set a goal to do one a week and work our way up. The app also saw an explosion of about 70% of people interested in live content last year, right after quarantine started. And that is continuing to trend.

<< Related : How to Batch Plan 30 Days of Instagram Content in 1 Day >>

As we batch create our pre-launch content, don’t just be crafting those static grid images but go ahead and batch your reels, batch stories. Like I said, I do that all the time. I pull out my phone, I shoot something, I just save it in an album on my phone and I’ll pull it out later.

Ashlyn Writes—prelaunch instagram strategy


Instagram Pre Launch Strategy No. 3| Scheduling content and posting.

So once all this content is created, it’s time to load it in. There are SO many tools that can be useful for this. I mentioned it earlier, you can watch this video here where I show behind the scenes of how I plan and then pull everything into Asana. Then from Asana, I would pop it into the tool that I love to use for Instagram planning called Plann.  So if you’re tracking the order: we are taking it from these 6-8 pieces of paper, brainstorming and making a mess, moving those into Asana, moving from Asana into Plann. That last piece of the puzzle happens on Mondays. I call it my “Marketing Mondays.”

I spent a couple of hours pulling things into the platform itself, like Plann, and I can go ahead and schedule and plan when the ideal time for me to post is. Now, I’ve heard you ask, “how do you know your ideal time to post on Instagram”? Well, knowing the best time to post obviously changes based on region and your audience. Understanding this helps make sure you optimize your grid posts, Stories, and Lives. It’s so essential to user engagement to post at the right time.

 

Ashlyn Writes—instagram prelaunch strategy

You can go one of two ways here, you can absolutely look at overall best practices times—I recommend reading this best times to post article from Social Media Today.

But here’s what I do, I love this app called Prime. The free version of it is great, but I actually would recommend paying, it’s not that much. I love that I can see for my specific audience, my group of followers, exactly the 3 best times every single day. That’s one thing I love—it doesn’t just tell me the best time, but it tells me two backup times that I can use as well. I’m telling you this app is clutch and it’s absolutely worth it, at least for a little while paying for it to see and get some regular trends that you can use as you craft your content and plan it out for pre-launch.


Now, if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all the copy and all the content that you need to create for your launch, I have two things that may just help you out.

The first is my Launch Copy and Content Checklist. Thousands of you have downloaded it. It can be a really helpful tool to use just to make sure that you’ve got all the messaging pieces that go into a launch campaign lined up so you can draft that copy and content.

Secondly is my Primed To Launch™ playbook tool. If you are looking to try to figure out how to craft an editorial calendar that doesn’t just rotate through content buckets but actually primes people and gets them salivating before you launch and announce your offer—this is for you.

Now you know a great overview of how to craft that content calendar for your Instagram strategy leading into launch. But what about a good overview of a launch workflow in itself? Well, I’ve got a video teed up for you to watch next where I’m going to break down step-by-step, my overall pre-launch into launch workflow.


primed to launch playbook


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What to Post on Instagram During Your Launch | Ashlyn Writes

Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure your words sell. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.

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Welcome to the AW blog! I hook up women with words. Grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine, and enjoy a peek behind-the-scenes of my ink stained life. 

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