It’s no secret that since November 2020, Instagram added another type of content for all of us to create and consume. Many people did not get access to this feature for nearly a year to my knowledge. But I believe most users have access to both consuming and creating reels at the time of this recording.
For the past month and a half, I did a little experiment with creating only original content on reels. And that was because although it’s really fun to use trending audios and voiceovers, it’s very short-lived content. And I think I’ve talked about this before. But that means that I’m depending on somebody else’s audio more likely than not. So if that audio is removed then I lose that Reel. And it doesn’t make sense on other platforms like original content does. For me that looks like blog posts and Pinterest. Obviously if you are using TikTok and then taking that content and using it in a Reel, then that makes sense for dual use content. But that simply doesn’t apply to me. So for an extended period of time I created only original content, to see how it stood up against unoriginal content, and how it was received by my audience.
Today we are going to talk about trends, whether you should follow trends, creating original content and the benefits of that, as well as the benefits of creating with trends. But by the end of this episode I just hope that you have some efficacy behind the choices that you make in regards to creating real‘s content if that something that you feel you need to do for your business or something that you want to do.
As of now reels are short form video content. They can be literally anything. I’ve even seen people lately posting a single photo as a graphic on reels. like a one second photo that then repeats over and over and over again because that counts as views or time spent viewing that particular reel. Now, I don’t think that is a good tactic from a business standpoint or a creator standpoint. Because as a consumer I don’t enjoy consuming that. So it’s not going to get liked and it’s not going to get shared. That’s my current perspective on this but maybe I just haven’t seen someone use the tactic in a way that makes sense in my opinion.
Again, at this point these videos can go up to 60 seconds. But I honestly don’t suggest that. And I want to bring your attention to a point that I repeat a lot when speaking on any aspect of business and marketing. And that is the fact that I encourage you to observe yourself as a consumer. How long are the reels that you typically watch in their entirety? Why do you watch those ones? Are there a lot of transitions? Is it entertaining? How did they grab your attention? These are all questions that you can ask yourself while you consume content in order to then use that data and apply it to your own creation process.
I still want you creating more often than you are consuming. But I do think that it benefits us to organically take and content on the app and see what trends are happening, as well as what is appealing to us as a consumer.
So strictly speaking from my own experience I tend to only watch Reels that are definitely under 30 seconds. More often than not under 15 seconds.
No matter how long the Reel is that you were creating be sure to keep transitions very quick. There should be no space before or after you starting or ending a sentence. So if it is an organic piece of content – An original piece of content, then be sure to cut your clips very very clearly and concisely so that they butt up to each other with no gaps.
So that kind of wraps up this idea of timing. And duration of content. Attempt to keep it short, whether you are creating original content or using a voiceover.
You also have to consider the type of content I suppose. Especially in the world of health and fitness, you may not even be face to camera. Maybe you are doing a voiceover over the top of an exercise tutorial or you making a recipe of some kind. Or maybe there’s not even a voice over and you just have text on the screen. There’s nothing wrong with any of those and these are examples of what I experimented with in the last month and a half.
One of my favorite forms of content to consume and create is using the green screen filter on reels. It keeps attention and allows for really great and digestible education I think.
I really encourage you to do less of what you think you need to be doing on instagram and have fun within your own creative process. Create what you want to, of course with your audience in mind. But for your own sanity, less checking off boxes, more playing around with types of content and seeing what you enjoy and what lands with your audience. In a sense this approach is getting back to the organic purpose of instagram, but with short form video vs single photos.
Now, let’s get into how to make content catchy and the differences between original and non-original content
I mentioned this early but especially when creating original content – so answering a question you got, teaching on a topic, using the green screen to educate your audience or bust a myth. – make sure to use transitions or cut clips and change position in the screen.
These tactics help keep the viewers attention. Stationary video is not the winner when it comes to reels.
With any of this, if the content is not landing with people – your audience or a wider pool of people – no number of transitions will save you.
Organic vs non-organic or hybrid organic
The main benefit of creating organic content – like playing two different parts (coach and client, significant others, parent and toddler, creator and internet troll) – is that you own it. It’s yours. You can keep it, post it in a blog or on pinterest, or on YouTube. If you’re only on instagram, it still benefits you as it’s original. It gives you an opportunity to create, learn and hone in on your messaging and voice even more.
But hands down original content takes significantly more time to create in my experience when comparing to a voice over style of reel – which to my knowledge, at the time of this podcast is most popular.
The benefit of jumping on trends and using VoiceOver type reels is time efficiency and potential for viral reach/exposure.
That’s what I saw a drop in when I created all original content for a month. I found that I really felt my content was VALUABLE to my audience and they received it very well in the comments section. I could provide legit education and golden nuggets. But that’s not going to be as popular as me acting like I am David from Schitts creek.
So, this current month in May I have meshed the two approaches. That is in attempt to leverage the viral potential of my VoiceOver reels and the massive value I provide in original short form video.
YOU. DO. YOU.
Watch some Reels.
Save audios you think are hilarious or you can leverage.
Open your notes app.
Make notes on what content you can create originally – think tutorials, walk throughs, 5 steps, myths, examples, how to’s.
If you save audio, write them in your notes app.
When you make your reels, DOWNLOAD THEM whether with or without audio. If you log out or it logs you out for some reason, you lose all your drafts.
After drafting 15 reels last week, the app locked me out – Instagram emailed me saying it was an accident. I couldn’t log back in. Blah Blah – but I knew my drafts would be gone.
LUCKILY I SAVED ALL MY REELS DRAFTS TO MY CAMERA AND…I had all the names of my saved audio in my notes app next to the reel idea. So we were good to go!
Just trying to save you some dismay and time wasted.
That’s all I’ve got today!
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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