How to Use Instagram Stories for Business

If you’re anything like most creatives we know, you probably get hooked into watching Instagram Stories at least a few times a day. That’s cool. I do it, too. I love seeing what our clients and friends are up to. But, wouldn’t it be even cooler if your potential ideal clients were getting hooked into watching your Instagram Stories?!


Wouldn’t it be rad if you knew how to get their attention, give them value and how to use Instagram Stories for business?!


We see this tool being way underused by creative entrepreneurs. Yes, it’s fun to see some random flybys of where you’re at and what you’re up to, but a lot of the time I just feel like I’m either 1) being sold to over and over and over again or, practically the opposite, 2) there’s little intention or direction with what’s going on!


It’s an easy-ish fix to get those Stories up to par, but if you’re anything like me, you want to know why you’re spending your time and energy on Instagram Stories in the first place…


(Important side note: Before we dive in, I’d be doing you a disservice if I gave you all the goods below about Instagram Stories without giving you access to the entire content picture that’ll work best for your creative business! But don’t sweat it! We’ve done the work for you with our Content Creation Kit…oh, and heck yes, it’s free! So snag yours super quick and then hop back over here.)


How does Instagram Stories benefit your business?


  • Quick and authentic way to connect (Remember, the key to profitable marketing is connection, so there is so much potential here!)
  • Gives viewers instant gratification (Blog posts, like this, and newsletters and other lengthier forms of content marketing are so great for giving meaty chunks of value, but IG Stories is perfect for delivering quick tips, humor and brief glances into your brand!)
  • Works great as a supporting tool for Instagram and other platforms (Think of IG Stories as a place to show your audience a quick commercial of something else you have going on on your other platforms!)
  • Easy way to show your everyday-ness, that you’re human, too (Beautiful websites are fab! It’s important to make sure your online storefront is a representation of your talent and passions as a creative entrepreneur, buuuuuut, it’s important not to hide behind them! Your people want to connect with the everyday you!)


Okay, you on board for using Stories more intentionally now?!


Sweet. Let’s talk about how to do this!


What should you say on Instagram Stories?


  • Same stuff you’re talking about everywhere else! (Just say it in smaller pieces. Feel free to repurpose little pieces of your blog or even show a different aspect of your Instagram posts, for that matter!)
  • What are you up to? How does it relate to business? (Are you out scouting for a shoot? We want to see! Are you prepping a rad client project? We want to see! Are you eating cereal the same exact way you do every day?! We probably don’t want to see! :-P)
  • Value, vulnerability and entertainment! (What are your ideal clients interested in? What kind of questions are they emailing you about? What areas of your real life can they relate to…marriage, kids, travel? What’s your stance? What do you want to be known for? Creatively (we’ll show you how below!) show pieces of all of these things!)
  • Show what it’s like to work with you! (We prefer to do this in more subtle, behind-the-scenes ways most of the time, so viewers can enjoy Stories without feeling like we’re selling all the time, because that gets old.)


Here’s a quick 24-second example of how we’ve used Instagram Stories to encourage a coaching client and simultaneously share a peek behind the scenes of what kind of clients we work with.


(Another quick side note: We have an entire workshop where we share everything we know about creating content that connects with your peeps. So if you’re looking for more direction on using not only Instagram Stories, but your blog, newsletter, social media and content marketing, just as a whole, click here to check it out!)


Next up…


What’s the best way to share your content on Instagram Stories?


  • Personally – Show your face! Show us your quirks! Stay on brand!
  • Creatively – Be an art director! Use all those funky filters and tools to bring your story to life.
  • Concisely – Have a plan! Map it out! Get their attention and get to the point!
  • Completely – Tell an actual story!


Here’s another quick example (this one is 55 seconds) from one of our real life IG Stories. Watch for transitions; watch for use of color, movement and different angles; watch for the beginning, middle and end!



We believe Instagram Stories is much, much more than a fun, filter-y way to horse around on social media. We believe it is a key tool to modern marketing, especially for creative entrepreneurs who have some helpful media skills up their sleeves! When approached with intention and plenty of practice, Instagram Stories is a powerful marketing platform that has potential to bring raving fans and clients in the door.


If you want to jumpstart your content marketing game plan, grab our free Content Creation Kit (it even includes a weekly posting schedule!) so you know exactly what to post about on all your favorite platforms 🙂   





How to Decide What to Post Where + Our Free Content Creation Kit

A few months ago, one of our 1:1 coaching clients (who rocks the socks off content), came to us saying one of the biggest things that holds her back from sharing more content (on her blog, in her newsletter, on social media) was not being able to decide the best place to share it (and whether or not she should share it in more than one place). We know that content marketing for creative entrepreneurs doesn’t always come naturally. So, we thought you might be wondering, too…


Q: How do you decide what to post where?


The options are practically endless with: Instagram posts, Instagram stories, Facebook pages and groups, Facebook lives, blog posts, newsletters…I think you get the idea. Maybe not just where to post, but what to say?!


We’ve got your back, boo.


For starters, we’re going to tell you how to decide what to post where. After that, we’re going to give you a cheat sheet of sorts. We call it our Content Creation Kit. Oh, and it’s free 😉


But, let’s get back to what to post where. Here’s our quick guide on that…


Blog post

  • Meaty, in-depth, super valuable content. Something readers walk away from and think, “Dang! ______ just helped me so much!! I’m book-marking this bad boy because I know I’ll need it again in the future.”

Guest blog post

  • I usually pitch a few ideas that I enjoy writing about most that line up with their audience and then let them pick from there. (Can you use this content for YOUR blog later on down the road? Absolutely!) More on guest blogging here.

Newsletter (email to list)

  • Every few emails…lead them into a blog post. The rest of the time, give extra value, encouragement, etc. others don’t see (make them feel special for being there)….(Can you repurpose pieces of this for a later Instagram post? Absolutely!) More on newsletters here.

Instagram post

  • Think of it like you’re writing micro-blog posts! Rotate through your brand categories! (Not sure what we mean by brand categories? Click here to find a never-ending pot of gold, AKA, all the content ideas you’ve been dreaming about! (Can you expand on an Instagram post for a future newsletter or blog post? Absolutely!) More on Instagram here.

Instagram stories

  • Behind the scenes, everyday life, things you want to share but don’t necessarily want sticking around on your Instagram gallery forever and ever.

Facebook post

  • If you’re posting to your business page…share relevant links/articles, ask questions to encourage engagement. If you’re posting to your group…ask questions to encourage engagement but also bring even more value! How can you help? What can you offer your (private) group that nobody else gets?

Facebook live

  • Deep dive on one specific topic. Maybe that’s going into a point you made on the blog, but diving into that one thing even more than you did on the blog. Think: hot topics, FAQ type topics people always ask you about. (Use Instagram stories to let people know it’s coming!)


There you have it: What to post where! But, like I mentioned above, there’s a lot more intention and strategy that needs to be part of your content marketing game plan. You’re probably thinking, “Duh, Becky!” because the words below nag your brain on a regular basis…


  • “How the heck do you come up with ideas for blog posts?”
  • “I don’t know what to do or say in Instagram Stories. Do I really have to use Instagram Stories?”
  • “I’m sending newsletters, but I don’t know if people like them.”


We see you. We hear you. We’ve got an easy and free answer for you. Check it out for yourself! It’s our Content Creation Kit for Photographers – Template + Tips for Blogs, Newsletters + Social Media Posts that Connect. Psssst: If you’re a different kind of creative, the principles still apply 😉


A couple years into our first business, Limelife Photography, we started creating blog posts, videos and newsletters specifically to connect with our clients (and people we wanted as clients), and the response was incredible. Potential clients booked with us faster. Clients who had already hired us, trusted + loved us even more. Looking back, knowing what we know now, I’m not surprised, because…


Content that connects = trust built = genuine relationships + more money in your pocket. 


We’re giving you this Content Creation Kit to not only to make it easier for you to come up with blogs, social media posts, and newsletters, but to show you how to create content that actually attracts your dream clients!


Here’s to knowing what the heck to say, knowing where to post it and knowing this beast of content creation isn’t so bad when you’ve got proven strategies on your side!



Blog vs. Newsletter: How to decide where to share your content

Blog vs. Newsletter: How to decide where to share your content…this is the great debate people ask us about all the time. You might be thinking…


“So, I’m supposed to blog and have a newsletter, right?”




“Cool. But, what’s the difference between a blog and newsletter? What am I supposed to say in both? Are you sure I need both?!”


By now, we all know that content marketing for creative entrepreneurs isn’t going anywhere. If that phrase still freaks you out, make sure you read this to see that it’s not so scary…and yes you need to do it…and yes, you can do it!


But let’s tackle this whole blog vs. newsletter thing, shall we? Because it can totally be overwhelming. But, it’s also totally doable (not to mention a game-changer for connecting with your audience and producing profits for you!!!) if you have a plan.


Just like everything in business, it’s important to take a step back and look at the purpose of your efforts before barreling ahead, full force into doing, doing, doing without knowing what the heck or why you’re doing something.


That said, you might be thinking…


Do I need a blog?


Yes, if you want to…


  • Introduce yourself to people who want what you have to offer
  • Give your ideal clients ideas, tips, advice that make their lives easier or better
  • Connect with and grow your audience
  • Climb the SEO ranks
  • Position yourself at the top of your industry
  • Build credibility for your business
  • Book more clients


As you can see, in our opinion…


Blogging is far from dead.


Okay, but what about that newsletter…


Do I need a newsletter?


Yes, if you want to…


  • Protect yourself from ever-changing social media and Google algorithms
  • Guide your fans and followers down your customer journey
  • Give your ideal clients extra value, special deals and promotions
  • Position yourself at the top of your industry
  • Build credibility for your business
  • Get repeat business, over and over again
  • Scale your business


So, how do I decide if my content should be a blog post or a newsletter?


Post it on your blog if it’s content…


  • You can use as a value-add for your current clients (add it to your client workflow!)
  • Similar to something people are searching for
  • That’s heavy duty, there’s lots to it
  • In video format
  • That answers questions people ask you often
  • That will be helpful to your audience for months and years to come
  • Want a little jumpstart to writing your blog posts? Here are 19 blog topics creative entrepreneurs can write about.  


Send only as a newsletter if…


  • You’re promoting or selling something specific
  • The info is time sensitive and/or community based (like letting your list know you’re doing a Facebook Live later that day and they won’t want to miss out over on your Facebook page)
  • It’s short and sweet, a quick story or something you learned that made you think of your audience
  • Still need a little extra help with your newsletter? No problem. We’ve got you covered.


There is a difference between blog content and newsletter content. But, there’s a caveat! They can and do work together!


When readers see how open and generous you are with your tips, ideas and knowledge via your blog posts (and they see how talented and passionate you are about your work), they’re going to want more. But, if you don’t give them an opportunity to get more, to be part of your world (to potentially become customers!), you’re missing out!


So, first thing’s first…


Give your blog readers an opportunity to join your email list. But, and this is very important!!! Don’t just say: “Join my email list!” or “Subscribe!” or “Want to get my emails?”


Does anyone really want more emails?! Probably not.


But, people do want ideas, tips, entertainment that make their life easier, better and/or save them money and/or time. So, as you’re finishing up those awesome blog posts, you can say something like: “Click here to get even more info on ___________!” or “Want a free guide to __________? Click here!” or “Like what you see here? Click here for more!”


Clicking = they get more (as promised!) after they give you their name and email address.


This is just one way to simultaneously give your readers what they want and get what you want: new, raving, loyal fans on your email list. More on all this another day. But, let’s get back to…


How to make blog posts and newsletters work together


We send our list an email once a week. About 25% of those newsletters are related to something we’ve written here, on our Idealust blog. The other 75% is extra added value, only for those on our list (Facebook Lives, free webinars, free ebooks, guides, inspiration, etc.) and special offers or promotions.


Please note that not every email we send connects with a blog post!


There’s a reason for that! Anyone and everyone can go to our blog posts! We want people who are on our mailing list to feel special, because they are! That’s why we send them emails every single week with information that will help them build their creative businesses, faster than trying to do it alone!


Our guess is you want your subscribers to be happy they’re on your list, too.


*** Rule #1: When you email your list, make sure that (at least sometimes!) it’s more than just a notification that you’ve written a new blog post.


Every third or fourth email, let email subscribers know there’s something incredible waiting for them on the blog. Make sure there is something incredible waiting for them on the blog!


*** Rule #2: When you do send your subscribers to a blog post (via your newsletter), make it a value-based blog post, not a portfolio post of your recent work.


Let’s chat for a second about getting people from your list to the blog post you want them to read.


There’s a right way to do it…meaning, if you do it the wrong way, readers may never even make it to your blog. And that’s frustrating. And a waste of your time. We know you didn’t write that beautiful blog post so it can sit, unread, collecting internet dust.  


Guidelines for newsletters that lead into a blog post


  • The newsletter can include part of the intro of the actual blog post, or it can be a quick story about the topic you go into further on the blog
  • Do not copy and paste a chunk of your blog post and send it as a newsletter. Remember! Make your subscribers feel special for being on your list! Don’t be lazy!
  • Save the best part for the blog (if you give them a majority of what they’re hoping for in the newsletter, there’s no reason for them to click through)
  • Show readers the benefit of clicking through to your blog post (how will it make their life easier/better?)
  • Tell newsletter readers exactly where you want them to go/what you want them to do (use an obvious link or colorful button that takes them to the blog)
  • Be concise, keep it a little shorter (the whole purpose of that newsletter is to get them to click through to the blog; don’t waste time getting them there)


*** Rule #3: Save the juiciest, meatiest, best parts of the blog post for the blog! Don’t give them away in the newsletter if you want your readers to click through to the blog!


Phew! That was a lot. We get that this whole blogging, newsletter, content marketing thing can be a lot. So, we created a little tool for you to get started on the right foot. Oh, and it’s free. Click here to snatch up our Content Creation Kit!