Episode 118: The Instagram Story Show

Today is a behind the scenes episode as I share how and why I make Instagram Stories everyday.

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From the archives:
Episode 49 is a great introduction to Instagram Stories and how it differs from Snapchat and what the benefits are for podcasters and content creators, so you can go check out that episode if you are completely new to Instagram Stories.

Today’s Episode 118 will take a look at how I use Instagram stories one year after it’s launch in August 2016 and my process for creating daily stories.

In this episode:

What is my process and mindset for making Instagram Stories everyday?

Why do I use Instagram Stories?

How do I come up with topics, what makes a good story?

What tools or apps do I use to help me tell a more interesting story?

What is Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories was launched in August of 2016 as a feature inside of the main Instagram app.

Instagram Stories is all done on smartphones only. You can now view Stories on a web browser, but Instagram & Stories is all done on the phone.

Instagram Stories is very similar to Snapchat and very much like daily vlogging only Stories expire after 24 hours.

Stories are always going.

Clips are up to 15 seconds long and they run in succession, so when somebody views your Instagram Stories in the 23 hour, they see your start to finish story so to speak and it’s up to you to tell your story.


Insta Stories keeps adding new features but the basics include:
Normal Photo
Stop Motion

You can add photos and videos from your Camera Roll.

Add text and fun filters and stickers
Go live solo or collaborate with a friend or contact and broadcast in real time and engage with chat..

To view Instagram Stories, if you are ever browsing the main feed of Instagram, just look up top and you will see a bunch of circles with rainbow colored strokes. If you tap on any profile picture with colored strokes, you will start watching that person’s Insta Story and it will jump from story to story.

Stories are public for the most part so you can watch your favorite celebrity or sports star and like vlogs.

Instagram Stories are usually raw and real day in the life type stories.

Stories has 300 million active users,
Snapchat has 177 million active users (most popular with under 25 year olds)

If you are building an online presence in anyway, I really encourage you to give Instagram Stories a shot.

Why Do I use Instagram Stories:

The backstory:
I started using Snapchat in the summer of 2016 and it was challenging and a little out of my comfort zone to say the least to walk around and put goofy filters on my face and talk to strangers about my day to day life.

I am building a long-term online business and personal brand and I know that video and live-streaming and connecting to people is the future of online business and you have to play if you want to win.

Because Snapchat & Instagram Stories disappear in 24 hours, there is not a lot of pressure because everyday is like a fresh start, so I look at it all as practicing my craft of making videos, learning to tell stories and figuring out what people want from me or what my strenghts are.

I have posted something on Instagram for over 2 years now and I have done the same on Instagram Stories for over a year.

I post to my story 7 days a week and some more than others, but it’s a part of my daily routine and quite honestly, it’s one of my biggest motivators and Instagram Stories keeps me on track.


My why for Instagram Stories is self-serving on many levels as I want to be great at creating online content and teaching people and Instagram

Stories holds me accountable.

It’s how I get better and share my progress and the behind the scenes of my business and brand building journey, so if I am not working hard and moving forward, then I have nothing valuable to contribute to Instagram Stories.

I am always on the clock and want to share my story, so of course I want it to be interesting and fun and motivating for others, so I have to show up everyday for real and put in the work and have fun because my Instagram Story is pushing me to be better at everything.

My why is a personal quest to be better at communicating and being comfortable on camera, learning the craft of telling stories to educate, motivate and inspire people and to build a community and learn to connect with people, because that does not come natural for me. To be clear, I do not have a giant Instagram following and I really pay no attention because I am just working hard at developing skills that I know are going to put me ahead of the pack in the future.

Instagram Stories has analytics and you can see who views your story.

I very rarely look so I don’t know if 1 or 20 people watch my stories.

In the accidental times I have swiped up, I know it is not a large amount of people

but I know if one person is finding value or inspiration, that’s all I need to keep showing up everyday and it’s also making me better at everything.

My process:

Instagram Stories has become part of my routine and while I do not script out a story or map out my day the way, but I am conscious of how the storytelling process which has a beginning, middle and ending, righ.

A good story always has some conflict.

Use Your Surroundings:

I start my Instagram Stories in the morning usually when I go on my morning bike ride or walk.

I live in sunny Naples, FL so a big part of my story is the scenery and beach vibe and I weave photos and videos into my stories to add interest and to practice creativity.

In order to build a brand and strong online presence as a content creator, you have to build up your creative toolbox.

Be creative with photos and videos and try new things.

It’s also important for me to share knowledge or things that I think will help people in some way or another.

I show up day after day and stay positive and let people know that it takes hard work to create the life you want.

Conflict is a major element to any good story and I share my struggles and ups and downs on my Instagram Stories and they are real.

Do I have enough time to write my podcast script and make 3 videos and finish a project that will generate some income for me.

I am sharing my narrative in a genuine manner, but I am scultpting my brand story as part of the process.

The anatomy of my Instagram Stories:

Wake up in the morning and do some work and then go on my morning walk and I usually take a photo of the beautiful Florida sunrise at the beach or of a nice palm tree and say good morning on my Story with text.

I start my stories in a peaceful tone and then I usually start with a personal good morning greeting and share some tech news or something intersting I learned or a tech tip that I found cool.

I then share my todo list for the day and it’s not to sound busy, but more to share my story and process for how I am trying to make it on my own as an online business and to not sugarcoat anything.

It is real stuff I’m sharing, but I have to tell it in 15 second clips so there is an art to it in some regards and it is the nature of storytelling.

I usually do a quick update in the mid-afternoon to break up my work day and touch base

In the late-afternoon:
My favorite time of the day for instagram stories is when I go on my afternoon bike ride and sunset mission.

I ride my old beach cruiser and tell stories on the road.

I’m genuinely enjoying myself and the scenery is beautiful to boot. It’s why I live where I do, because I enjoy the quality of life an beautiful surroundings, so I make that a big part of my Instagram and brand story.

And I rinse and repeat everyday, but I am always trying to sharpen my storytelling skills and always very aware of the person on the other side viewing my story.

I do not overthink sharing things and topics come out of what I am working on or what is fresh on my mind, but I also try to only share things that I think will somehow teach, entertain or give just a bit of inspiration or motivation to people who may need a nudge to go after their goals or take a chance on themselves.

That is why I show up everyday on Instagram Stories.

For the technical side of things:

I really encourage you to think outside the box and really try to push the boundaries of your stories.

Instagram Stories are vertical:
9:16 aspect ration
1080px X 1920 px

Tools I use:

Adobe Photoshop (graphics)
Adobe After Effects (animations)
Adobe Lightroom (camera/polish photos)
Hyperlapse (made by Boomerang)
IPhone camera (slo-mo)

Tools I recommend:
Adobe Spark

Make Interesting Stories

I’m always thinking of ways to add interest to my Instagram Stories and I encourage you to do the same. Learn, Create, Move Forward.

Creativity and storytelling is the future of online education, content creation, podcasting, blogging, personal branding and online business and Instagram Stories is a powerful tool to practice and connect and build a community.

So what is your story?

I would love to hear from you about your experience with Instagram Stories or if you have questions for me.

Does this topic interest you?

Follow me on Instagram @mikeunplugged

Email me:mike@mikemurphy.co


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