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How to Create Your Own IGTV Series in 2020

Ready to create an IGTV series?

With dedicated titles, themes, and a subscribe button to get notified when new content rolls out, it’s easy to see why brands are jumping on board with the trend.

Plus, given IGTV’s growing popularity, creating your very own video series could be an excellent way to reach new audiences, grow your engagement, and even capture leads! 

Ready to get started? 

In the following, we look at how to launch an IGTV series in 4 easy steps. Plus, we’re covering all the tips and tricks we learned from launching our very own IGTV video series!

igtv series

Why Create an IGTV Series in 2020 

Like most new things, when IGTV first launched in 2018, people didn’t really know what to make of it. Was it for creators? Brands? Regular people? And what’s the deal with vertical video? 

Basically, IGTV had an identity crisis. 

But as Instagram continued to invest in IGTV, adding new tools and features, a pattern emerged.

Rather than producing one-off videos on a semi-regular basis, businesses and creators started creating TV-like “episodic” content centered around a specific theme or topic. 

Take Lululemon’s Boob Truths. The series features weekly segments on a single topic (like how to find the perfect sports bra fit) and is cohesive in terms of set and format. 

We even launched our very own IGTV series called Screen Time with Later where we recap the top trends, cultural moments, and social media news of the week!

So why are so many great brands jumping on the IGTV series bandwagon? 

Well, according to Mel Brittner, Later’s social media strategist, one of the biggest benefits for brands is that it gets your audience in the habit of coming back to your profile. 

“When it comes to episodic content on IGTV, if you can get people in a habit of coming back to your profile, eventually, you’ll be a part of their weekly routine – the same way people tune-in to television shows,” Mel says. 

“Basically, it puts you in the driver’s seat. When people are purposely coming to your profile to watch your latest episode, you’re no longer just at the mercy of the algorithm.”  

Tune in, subscribe to the series, and never miss out on the latest social trends with Screen Time with Later! 

 
Thinking about starting your own IGTV series? Here’s how to do it in 4 steps: 

How to Create an IGTV Series Step #1: Make a Plan

One of the first steps in developing an IGTV series is deciding what your series concept should be and how to carry it out.

Since you’ll be sharing multiple videos, you need to come up with a “repeatable” theme and style – something your audience won’t get bored of. 

So spend some time thinking about what your audience wants to see, and how you can break it down into smaller chunks.

According to Mel, the idea for Screen Time with Later came about pretty organically. We already write about social media trends and news on the Later blog, so taking those topics to IGTV made a lot of sense. 

“I think it really comes down to focusing on what you’re good at,” Mel says. “There were a lot of times when we noticed a small trend on social that we could easily talk about for 30 seconds, but probably wasn’t big enough to blow up into a campaign or a blog post.”

“That’s where the idea came from. Why not roll it into a weekly video series where we recap the week’s news, trends, and anything you might have missed?”

igtv series

If you’re having trouble nailing down a concept, Jon Youshaei, IGTV’s Product Marketing Manager suggests using Instagram Stories to workshop material. 

Since Instagram Stories disappear in a day, you can test different ideas, formats, and sketches before dedicating the time to turn them into an IGTV series.

“This is a lot more powerful than simply guessing what your audience would like to see, spending a bunch of time producing videos, and then having it fall flat because your audience wasn’t feeling it,” Jon says. 

Once you have your concept figured out, the next step is to build-out a brief

Your goal here should be to nail down the nitty-gritty details, like budget, resources, creative direction, and schedule – try to be as detailed as possible! 

This will give you a clearer idea of how much lead time you’re working with and the potential scope of the video series. If you’re running on a tight budget, you may have to scale back on some of your more ambitious ideas.

To give some perspective, we started planning Screen Time with Later about 3 months before we launched, which gave us plenty of time to finetune the concept, design, and more. 

To help you kick off your IGTV channel, we sat down with Jon Youshaei, Product Marketing Manager of IGTV from Instagram HQ to get his best tips on how to create a successful IGTV strategy! Here’s what we learned:

IGTV Series Step #2: Film Your Series

How you go about actually producing your IGTV series is going to depend pretty heavily on your budget and other factors. 

If you’re a large, well-funded business with money to spare, you may want to invest in a videographer, professional equipment, and a shooting location. 

But that definitely isn’t necessary! 

According to Mel, even bootstrapped businesses can turnout *great* video content for IGTV – it just takes a little creativity.

“You don’t need a big budget to create an IGTV series – an iPhone and some kind of mic setup is really all you need,” Mel says.

“If you’re a little more relaxed about the visuals, you can also hack it using apps on your phone. You can add transitions using LumaFusion and create graphics using Over. For subtitles, I use an app called Kapwing.” 

We reviewed 20 of our favorite mobile video editing apps in 2020! Check out the full list here!

Filming your IGTV series also doesn’t have to take weeks and weeks of work.

“In terms of process, we have a writers meeting on Monday where we come up with the concepts and lock those in,” Mel says. “Then we build out a script and decide what graphics and screencasts we need to make.”

From there, it’s just a matter of filming the episode.  

igtv

For our first episode of Screen Time, we filmed it in our office with professional video equipment and a videographer. It looked AMAZING, for example:

But then, the world entered a global pandemic and our company shifted to working from home.

So we were faced with a bit of a predicament, but ultimately decided that the show must go on. So after a 1 week hiatus, our host @taylor.loren decided she would attempt to film the series in her apartment with our professional video equipment.

The result was….less than stellar, to be totally honest:

Trying to figure out lighting, sound, and then attempting to film yourself with a camera when you can’t actually *see* yourself is really, really hard.

For example, Taylor wasn’t in the middle of the frame, the lighting leaves a lot to be desired [Editor’s note: GLASSES ARE HARD TO LIGHT, OKAY?!],  the sound is a bit echo-ey, and it took her almost an entire day to do this.

But we kept trying, until we finally figured a system that worked for us, which ended being filming on an iPhone. 

It’s true, you really do not need a ton of expensive equipment in order to film video content! Our phones are powerful machines these days, so all you really need is your phone and some good natural light to get started.

If you want to level up your video production a bit, here is what we are currently using to film Screen Time:

  • Camera: iPhone 11 Pro, it can shoot in 4k HD but we are actually filming using the selfie camera instead
  • Lighting: natural lighting is great, but not everyone is blessed with that at home. A simple ring light is really all you need! But ring lights are pretty horrible if you wear glasses because of the reflection, so we are also using a fill light from Amazon. You can watch this video to learn how to light for glasses.
  • Sound: we have a professional mic and mixer, but honestly, it’s not that helpful if you don’t know what you’re doing (like us). You could try a USB mic like this, or a mic that just plugs into your iPhone too!
  • Teleprompter: a teleprompter is a game changer for recording video content, but it’s also a big pain in the butt sometimes. We discovered this life-saving teleprompter app for recording selfie videos, so you can see yourself while you’re recording AND see the text at the same time! It’s free with a watermark, or about $25 to remove the watermark.
  • Tripod: if you’re using a ring light, it will likely come with a built in spot for your phone, so you’re set! If not, you’ll want to get a tripod for your phone, but you don’t need anything fancy, they start at $10 on Amazon.
  • Editing: we are obsessed with the Inshot app (don’t tell our videographer). It does the job! We also create our graphics using templates our designer created for us in Canva, so we don’t need design resources for every screen-casting element.

All of that being said, the most important thing is that you have good light (natural light is free and great!) and good sound. If you were to invest in any equipment, choose sound over light.

Now, we are not video production experts, so if you’re wanting to learn more about creating video content from your home, we recommend checking out all the amazing content on the Wistia Learning Center! They are the real pros, and who we turn to for advice.

View this post on Instagram

🎥 adventures in video production 🎞 PART 1: The Show Must Go On ⠀ ⠀ we launched Screen Time, our new IGTV series from @latermedia, right before the coronavirus became a pandemic.⠀ ⠀ the first episode was great! a super positive response, couldn’t have asked for it to go better. but in the matter of a week, our entire world changed forever.⠀ ⠀ so we didn’t put out an episode last week, because we were still processing our new reality and honestly, didn’t have something to say.⠀ ⠀ but now, the world is starting to adjust to our new normal, and for privileged people like me, that means working from home for the next month (or more). ⠀ ⠀ at the same time, social distancing has caused a huge shift in social media, and we agreed that having a conversation & tracking the changes and trends each week is more important than ever. ⠀ ⠀ so, what’s a marketer to do?⠀ ⠀ jump in the deep end and attempt to film the episode in my tiny apartment, with zero experience and our videographer on facetime. ⠀ ⠀ the production is not perfect, or even great: the audio echoes, the lighting is horrible, and by the time I was ready to actually film I was so exhausted that my on-camera performance is not stellar. ⠀ ⠀ but, we did it. ⠀ ⠀ and I learned a LOT!⠀ ⠀ you can watch episode 2 now over on @latermedia’s profile or swipe up in my stories 💕 ⠀ ⠀ next week we will make changes and it will get better, but I just wanted to share this story to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and get creative with marketing during quarantine. ⠀ ⠀ also, I’m extremely lucky to even be able to work from home, and I’m so grateful 🙏 ⠀ ⠀ (if you want some tips on filming in your house, don’t ask me lol, but @wistia has a great blog!)

A post shared by taylor loren 💫 (@taylor.loren) on

Okay, now that you’ve got some tips on filming, there are certain building blocks that make for a great IGTV series.

First, you want every single video to start strong, both in the preview on Instagram and the video itself on IGTV. Ideally, within the first ten seconds, you want to explain what you’ll talk about and why it matters to your audience.

Check out how Later uses a similar style and format for all our title screens – each video has a custom title screen that reflects not only the topic of the video but also aligns with Later’s overall Instagram aesthetic:

igtv series

It’s also a good idea to include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end where you ask your audience to like and share the video so they can help amplify your message!

This is also a great place to get feedback from your audience on what topics they want you to cover in future videos. 

igtv series

And in terms of video length, try to be as concise as possible while still keeping things entertaining. While long-form video is meant to be, well, long, if all of your videos have a runtime of 30+ minutes, your viewer retention rate is probably going to suffer. 

So try experimenting with different video lengths to find that sweet spot for engagement!

Once you have your video shot, you can use the new IGTV series feature to organize your content into a series-like collection. 

Announced by Instagram last October, the feature was designed to give creators a chance to produce ongoing, long-form video content on IGTV – separate from other videos on their channel.


To get started, add a video to your series by tapping “Add to Series.”

igtv series

If it’s your first video in the series, you’ll need to set up a series name and description.

igtv series

The new tools also make it easy to add existing IGTV content to a series! Just select the IGTV tab from your profile, tap on the video you’d like to add, and click “Edit.” 

You’ll see a new option labeled “Add to Series.” From here, you can create a new series or select an existing one. To finish, just tap “Post” in the top right corner. 

igtv series

You’ll also want to make sure to encourage your fans to turn on notifications for your IGTV series so they never miss out on new content! 

To set up notifications, just click on the series title (or badge) and hit “Turn on IGTV Notifications” in the bottom right corner.

IGTV series

And that’s it! Just re-follow these steps as you add more videos to your IGTV series!

IGTV Series Step #3: Promote Your Series

When it comes to promoting your IGTV videos, it’s also important to think of Instagram as one giant ecosystem with different “surfaces” that you can use to build a bigger and tighter-knit community – this includes Instagram Stories, feed posts, and more. 

“In terms of promotion, I always use the Countdown Sticker to tease a new episode beforehand,” Mel says. “I find that it works best if you share a countdown 2-3 days before a video goes live – people are more likely to subscribe to be notified.” 

igtv series

You can also create a hashtag for your IGTV series (like #laterscreentime) so people have another place to find all of your great episodes. 

igtv series

And don’t forget to post an IGTV preview to your Instagram feed on the day of your video debut so your audience doesn’t miss out on your content!

View this post on Instagram

This week’s episode of Screen Time with Later is here! 👀 We're recapping everything you need to know about what's happening this week on social in 5 mins or less. To keep things rolling during social distancing, @taylor.loren is filming on her own, from her city apartment (now turned video studio) each week — something you might have noticed more celebrities doing too! 🤩 You can count on us to be back each week with trends, tips, memes and more, every Wednesday, right here on our IGTV. ✨⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ This week we’re covering: ⁠⠀ 👉 Live streaming (and new features being released) ⁠⠀ 👉 Why you should keep an eye on @twitch⁠⠀ 👉 Finally: Some Good News on Youtube! ⁠⠀ 👉 A royally shocking Instagram announcement⁠⠀ 👉 The world unites over one thing: Carol did it #TigerKing ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ See a trend and want our take? Curious about a social rumor you’ve heard? Have a little known social media fact? Comment on our weekly video 💬 and we may just cover it next week! Share, save, comment — you know the drill. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Want to learn more?⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⤴ Link in bio: Take a deeper dive into more Instagram Stories hacks with our blog post: 16 Instagram Stories Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind ⤴⁣ ⁣⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ or if you’re watching on IGTV, tap right through: https://lat.gr/LaterBlogST 👈⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #socialmediatrends #livestreaming #socialmedianews #instagramnews #laterscreentime

A post shared by Later: Social Media Scheduler (@latermedia) on

If you want to get even more traction, you should also consider repurposing your IGTV content for other channels, like YouTube.

According to Mel, a great hack for this is to shoot your IGTV series in 9×16 (portrait mode) and then add a stationary image to each side of the video to make it 16×9. 

“That’s what we post to YouTube to repurpose the content,” Mel says. It’s a great hack because if you’re watching YouTube on desktop, you’ll see the frame, but if you’re watching on mobile and your phone is vertical, then you’ll see it like you would in IGTV.” 

On top of the strategies we listed above, you should also spend some time optimizing your video thumbnails, title, and description. 

For example, capturing a person’s emotional reaction in your thumbnail is a great way to drive more attention. 

igtv

As for your title, because IGTV is on mobile, most of your titles will get truncated or squeezed down. So it’s important to think really hard about the first three words of your headline since that’s often what most people will see.

And just like on YouTube, you’ll want to add in any relevant keywords to your description to make it easier for people to find your videos on IGTV. This also includes hashtags and tagging other Instagram accounts (thanks to a recent update, IGTV now offers autofill suggestions for both).

igtv

IGTV Series Step #4: Track Your Success

Once you upload a video to IGTV, you can see insights such as likes, comments, view count, average percent of video watched, and an audience retention graph.

Metrics like these are invaluable when deciding what changes (if any) to make to your IGTV strategy. For example, if viewers are dropping off at the 5-minute mark, you can take that as a sign that creating videos that are longer than 5 minutes might not be the best strategy.

Here’s how to do it in: 

From your Instagram profile, tap on the IGTV icon. This will bring you to your IGTV channel.

Tap on the video you would like to see your analytics for and when the video starts playing, just tap on the ‘…’ icon on the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

igtv metrics

From here, tap the “View Insights” button to bring up all the analytics related to your video.

Just like your Instagram Stories and posts, you can see how many times your video has been viewed, liked, and commented on.

igtv metrics

Your Audience Retention stats is where you should focus your attention. A “view” on IGTV is counted for every time a person watched at least three seconds of your video. So while your views may be high, that doesn’t necessarily mean your viewers watched the whole video.

But the Audience Retention stats are unique to IGTV and they let you see how long you’ve kept your audience’s attention for. It’s a great tool for pinpointing the perfect video length for your audience.

igtv metrics

Pay special attention to your Average Percentage Viewed rate. It’s calculated as the percentage of your video watched as an average of all plays. So it shows you a clearer picture of how much of your video was watched by all viewers, even if they skipped forward and only watched certain parts.

Creating an IGTV series is an incredible way to break free from the Instagram algorithm and drive more visitors (including repeat visitors!) to your profile.

But at the end of the day, in order to create an amazing IGTV strategy, you need to know your audience inside-and-out and create content that really resonates with them. 

Let us know what you think if our IGTV series tips in the comments below!

Tune in, subscribe to the series, and never miss out on the latest social trends with Screen Time with Later!

Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.

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