Today we are continuing our series on Instagram Reels by talking about the elements of a reel.  Specifically, what to include in a reel when you are making one. Also, today I will be sharing my resource that you can purchase from me that goes along with today’s topic. Here are the necessary elements of a reel.


Elements of a Reel

The Hook

The hook is key. This is a quick catchy phrase or word to get your viewer to stop scrolling and pay attention. I’ll be completely honest with you, the hook was where I struggled when I first made reels. You should have the hook in two places:

  • On-screen text, meaning the typed words on the screen
  • The start of your caption


Call to Action

Similar to your hook, you have to have this in a couple places:

  • On-screen text
  • In your caption

A call to action directs them to take a specific action: follow you, comment, share, or send you a DM, for example.


The Main Message

This is what you’re aiming at – what you’re trying to get across with your reel. Is this reel specifically to provide value to your viewer? Is the purpose for your viewers to relate to you and get to know you? Does your message give them a new idea, some encouragement, or some guidance? 

Your reel doesn’t need to do all of these things. It just needs to do one of these things. Most reels are less than 3 minutes long. It needs to be quick. It needs to include your hook and your call to action. Between those two things, it needs to include your main message. 

You should also put part of your message in your caption. 

So, in deciding whether or not to put your message on the screen or in your caption, here’s some things to think about:

  • Only include it on the screen if you can do so without making it crowded. 
  • If you do include it on the screen, make sure the text pops up in sync with when you’re saying it.
  • Do just one chunk of text at a time.
  • If it’s too much for on screen text, just do that with the call to action. Send people down to the caption for the main message.


Cover Photo

Your reel’s cover photo is what people will see both in your profile grid and in your reels tab. You want to make it clear what your reel is about. It needs to:

  • Fit your brand
  • Encourage someone to click on your video or even visit your profile
  • Be as aesthetically pleasing as possible

Choose an existing frame from your video, or you can upload a cover photo from your camera roll. You can even design one in Canva, if you want. I often just choose a screenshot of me from the video where I’m making a pleasant face. 


Hashtags and Keywords

Contrary to popular belief, hashtags are not dead. Many of the pros still recommend them, and I still use them. Make sure you use them in your caption. 

Keywords are a new emphasis on Instagram. Basically, you want to make sure your on-screen text and your caption include relevant keywords to your content.  Keep these short, and you can also use them in your hashtags. 



Besides the hook, the caption was the hardest part for me. Your caption should:

  • Start with your hook
  • Expand on your message
  • Include your call to action
  • Include your hashtags and keywords

Here you can tell a story, share your experience, be vulnerable, be honest. This is a place where you can learn to gain trust with your viewers. Convert your viewers into followers, and convert those followers into customers. 

You can use emojis in your caption but don’t overdo it. Make sure that your caption is catchy, engaging, and decently long, but separated with spaces. This will help you get more watch time on your reels, especially if it’s a short reel. This will mean your reel will get pushed out to more people when viewers stop, scroll, and look at your caption.

I have a new resource for you, detailing the elements of a reel, that is the perfect companion for the free training for this month in our Facebook group. Check it out here: “A Complete Guide to Reels.”


I have a Facebook group for Christian authors, speakers, and coaches. It’s called The Christian Business Advantage, and each month I do a FREE training around the third Thursday of each month. Please come join our group, and you will learn tips and tricks for your business.

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