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Since its debut, Instagram Stories has been a place where casual content thrives. But with an audience that’s swelled from 100 million to 500 million daily users in less than three years, a little primp and polish may be in order.

That’s especially true for brands since one in every three of the most viewed stories come from businesses. As the name implies, Instagram Stories are a place for storytelling. And the brands that have mastered the ephemeral, 15-second clip format know that good storytelling starts with a storyboard.

Storyboarding ensures you deliver your message in the best way possible—even if you’re shooting on-the-go. With a storyboard, you won’t forget to include all your Story’s key details, from hashtags to logos and geotags.

Download your free pack of 20 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

When should you storyboard your Instagram Stories?

A storyboard is a frame-by-frame outline for your social narrative. A typical storyboard will consist of a sequence of squares—or in this case vertical rectangles—that depict the content for each post.

Another way to think of a storyboard is as a story strategy. For that reason, it’s good practice to always have at least a rough sketch for every post. There are a lot of free tools, such as Canva, that can help with storyboarding. But really, all you need is a pen and paper or a Google sheet.

There are some occasions that call for an Instagram storyboard more than others. These include:

Q&As

Instagram Stories offer a great format for a question and answer, whether that’s a traditional interview or ask-me-anything using the questions sticker. A storyboard will help you decide the best way to parse questions and answers across a series of 15-second clips.

Contest announcements

If you’re announcing a contest on Instagram, a storyboard will help ensure entry requirements, terms and prizes are clearly communicated.

Multi-part narratives

According to Instagram, two or more scenes are better than one. Even a single 15-second video post can contain multiple frames. And the more frames you plan to have, the more useful a storyboard will be.

Event coverage

Without a game plan for event coverage viewer interest can wane. Go into events with a strategy in mind, and apply that mindset to a flexible storyboard for your event-specific stories.

Your plan could be as simple as planning to ask different attendees a question, as Vogue did in its coverage of the Met Gala.

Influencer takeovers

A storyboard can be a great collaboration tool when working with Instagram influencers. You may ask the influencer to provide an outline of the Stories content they will provide, or you may share a storyboard as a loose template for the content you’re expecting.

How to storyboard your Instagram Stories

Here’s how to storyboard Instagram stories, in five steps.

Step 1. Start with a concept

Before putting pen to paper, decide on a concept or format for your Instagram Story.

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