About Me

So, where to start…

Creative  minded. Spiritually inclined. 30 Something…

I was born and brought up in the city of London but I relocated to Leicester (for love) back in 2016. 

A Psychology graduate who in my early career worked predominantly in schools and in the community to empower and offer support to people with disabilities, Digital Marketing found me back in 2009, when I least expected it, and I have been creating content (See my Blog Post ‘5 Things you didn’t know about me) and marketing it online ever since.

In London, my Digital Marketing role involved working for large retail brands with extensive funds, so when I moved to Leicester, my attention moved to those with smaller budgets.

Spending time with a variety of businesses and hearing about the challenges that they face and then encouraging and motivating them to find creative solutions to their Marketing blocks is what drives me. My passion for Digital Marketing is based on the theory that ‘You don’t need to be a big brand to succeed in business, you just need to be a little creative and think outside the box’ and thats where I come in! 

Since leaving my full time job, I have conducted a number of 1:1 Coaching sessions (See my Blog Post ‘1:1 Coaching, Ruby & Fi, Leicester) and small group workshops, which was actually more like fun (See my Blog Post: Social Media Work(Fun)shop’)

Ok enough about me…

But if you are itching to learn more, you can find out about my professional background (It’s pretty interesting) via LinkedIn here. And if you want to step into my personal life, check out the Instagram page located in the menu and follow me @thoughtsfashionlifestyle

 

3 ways with Hashtags on Instagram

One of the best ways to increase your following on Instagram is to be savvy with your Hashtags but what’s the most effective way to use them? Here are 3 ways to help you create a successful hashtag strategy for Instagram and see a positive increase in your following:

1. In your post description

A 2014 Instagram study by Simply Measured reported: Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement.

Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags, although I wouldn’t advise using all 30, making sure you utilise hashtags is massively important if you want to grow your following on Instagram, just remember to strategic about the hashtags you use to ensure you are attracting the right audience!

2. In your stories

I love stories, a place where I can post everything about myself as a brand. Unless you make them an Instagram Highlight, stories only last 24 hours so to make sure these are seen, don’t forget to add hashtags. You will be surprised how many more views you can get if you remember to always hashtag your stories.

3. To find like minded people

Part of your strategy should always be to connect with like minded brands but where to start? If you search for hashtags relevant to your industry and the follow them (another new addition for 2018), you’ll be surprised what you might find, not only inspiration but also an easy way to see what others within your space are doing.

 

 

 

Social Media Work(Fun)shop

Last week I hosted my first Social Media Workshop in Leicester, to be honest, it was more like a Funshop as it really didn’t feel like work and I got the impression everyone who attended felt the same. The feedback was really positive with everyone commenting on how they found it very positive and beneficial to their business (Testimonials to follow).

The Attendees 

The attendees of this intimate session, came from a variety of businesses from different industries. This included:

  • Food – A manager from a local Leicester based pub
  • Design – The owner of a Wedding Stationary Company – See Testimonial
  • Beauty – A beauty and skin care brand owner – See Testimonial
  • Property – The owner of a property inventory business

The Workshop Content 

The relaxed and interactive workshop covered various topics all based on the businesses individual needs, this included:

  • Social Media Best Practice – What are the best channels for your business. How often should you be posting. What shouldn’t you be doing on Social Media.
  • Content Planning – How can you save time planning your social media activity. How can you stop feeling overwhelmed by Social Media.
  • How to grow your following – What techniques could you be adopting to grow your following organically.
  • Content Inspiration – Inspiration for your business on what you could be posting across your channels.


Bespoke Social Media Workshops in Leicester 

Each workshop is targeted specifically at small businesses and independents who want to grow their brand. The content is written based on the businesses needs so each course outline will vary depending on the group. Following the session, each person gets an email consultation specific to their business. The sessions are small and intimate with a maximum of 6 businesses attending to ensure maximum value. As budgets can be tight, the sessions are set at an affordable price.


The next workshop will take place in Leicester on Wednesday 26th September. The 2 hour session will be from 6:30 – 8:30. To book your place or find out more contact me on: renuravalia@gmail.com 

1:1 Coaching: Ruby & Fi, Leicester

Thursday last week, I conducted my first Social Media Coaching Session with Hetal from Ruby & Fi – Events with Style 

Hetal had a number of challenges she wanted to address including help with content ideas for her blog and rules around posting on Social Media Channels especially Facebook & Instagram. I spent time preparing a handout giving her lots of advice and tips which we worked through, the session was really relaxed and also included a little tutorial on how she could be using more Facebook and Instagram stories to market herself and the business.

You can read her view on the session here

About 1:1 Coaching

Each session and content is tailored around the individuals needs giving a really bespoke service. I cover a number of Digital Marketing services including Social Media, Blog Inspiration, Content Planning, SEO and Marketing Strategy. The initial chat is completely free and the sessions have been created to be affordable with maximum value. Whether its a skype call you need or face to face interaction, an hour you’re looking for or longer, why not get in touch to find out more.

SEO: The Basics

I have spent a lot of my time working on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). With a small budget, it can really be the driving force for bringing traffic to your website, so it is 100% worth spending a little time working on SEO. If this is something you are not familiar with, here is a very brief explanation of SEO.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to ‘rank’ higher in search engine results pages, therefore increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic that your website receives. 

There are two types of SEO: On page/Onsite SEO and Off Page/Offsite SEO.

ON PAGE SEO

On page refers to your page copy i.e. Meta Description. Page Title. Alt Text. Heading Texts. Before looking at working on this type of SEO think about what key words you want to be optimised for. This should always be the first step to creating your SEO Strategy.

To win on page, make sure your pages are well structured (Making sure you use Headings H1 and subheadings H2) and use specific keywords (to avoid google getting confused about where to send traffic to). Also ensure every single page has:

  • Alt text
  • H1 & H2 (heading texts)
  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • Keyword within the content

OFF PAGE SEO

Off page refers to creating an online and offline footprint away from your website. This is done through creating back links to your website from Social Media, Articles, Blog Posts, Discussion Boards etc. If you have valuable back links, google will know that you have great content that will add value to your audience, so you’ll rank higher.

To win off page you want  to link internal pages using the keyword that best defines that page and remember, the more relevant or legitimate the website your back links come from, the better you are likely to be ranked. If your ready to take the next step and build a strategy around your SEO, then Moz have a great article with lots more detail. You can read it here.

To Summarise

SEO is an ongoing process and requires time, so remember to be patient. And a few final words…

1. The first part of your SEO strategy is to decide which keywords to rank for, be specific, start with a broad list, and then whittle it down using Google Keyword Planner.

2. Once you have your list, keep a record of the keywords you are optimising for and where you rank and keep visiting these keywords so you have visibility of your position.

2. To remain at the top of the page, make sure your also use these keywords within the content on your website including in your blog.

3. Also work on getting quality inbound links. For example: By Guest Blogging for a website or working with trusted digital influencers.

4. Analyse and monitor. Monthly analysing will help you to change your strategy if things aren’t working, so stay open to change.

Inspired Coaching – The story so far…

Last week I completed my sixth Social Media Coaching session. The main digital channels I have been covering are websites, blogs, Facebook and Instagram (Soon to move on to LinkedIn).

To summarise, I work with small businesses and independents to help create digital marketing strategies to grow their businesses online. Ultimately, I train, advise and inspire!

Being a creative I thrive from variety so creating unique content for different businesses on a regular basis really excites me, not only am I achieving one my main passions of helping small businesses but I am also learning by the minute (Learning is very important to my personal growth). Although each session is very different, they all have one thing in common, they’re empowering!

When I first started my career after studying psychology at university, I worked in schools teaching children with disabilities via small group sessions and 1:1s in the classroom. The satisfaction I got from empowering others was something I never forgot and I am so happy to be able to return to this but this time being able to incorporate my 9 years of digital marketing experience.

Starting a new business I believe is very much a journey, so watch this space to see where this one goes…

1:1 Coaching, ISKCON, Leicester

My most recent 1:1 was with Amit, an ISKCON devotee who has been dedicating his spare time to promoting a spiritual course being run by the School of Vedic Studies

As the course is due to start in September, he had some clear objectives he wanted to achieve from the session which revolved around building awareness and increasing sign ups via Facebook. During the session we looked primarily at Facebook, we went through the advantages of Facebook events and explored new groups that he should be focussing his time marketing too based on size and engagement. I also offered content ideas for the website, topics based on buzz words that would help to encourage link backs and raise interests around the course. As well as giving advice on best practice and the importance of analytics when planning your content, we also looked at existing posts and mocked up examples that might work better in attracting the  potential customers.

Following the session I sent over a summary and an action plan as well as some extra suggestions all aimed to leave him with some food for thought and a clear marketing strategy for future marketing activities.

You can read his testimonial here.

About 1:1 Coaching

Each session and content is tailored around the individuals needs giving a really bespoke service. I cover a number of Digital Marketing services including Social Media, Blog Inspiration, Content Planning, SEO and Marketing Strategy. The initial chat is completely free and the sessions have been created to be affordable with maximum value. Whether its a skype call you need or face to face interaction, why not get in touch to find out how you can help your business grow.

3 things that supported my journey from employed to self-employed

It’s been two weeks since I officially became self employed following my passion to help small businesses and independent business owners grow online, however the intention has been with me for some time. My goals for 2018 involved two things, self development and business and everything I have been doing this year has focussed around these. It takes a strong mind and a lot of courage to take a leap from employment to self employment, the look on some peoples faces when I told them I was leaving my comfortable job to work for myself was a real picture, in fact it wish I could have framed it for motivation, actually very few people could understand why I would want to take such a ‘risky’ jump. Being aware of peoples reservations, working on my mindset became even more of a necessity to me, so I started reading books, watching videos and basically psyching myself up, I guess kind of preparing myself for the shift. There have been some things that have really helped me on my journey, here I share 3 of them, if your contemplating taking the leap, I hope they’ll help you too.

1.Mindset Coaching with Uma Kangai

Other people affect us a lot, they question us and make us think like something isn’t possible (even when you know deep down it is), so I started working with a coach, regular sessions that dealt with all my fears and anxieties about leaving the ‘safe’ place, encouragement to journal, delve deeper and mainly shift my mindset. Having a coach for support when you are about to go through a major change in your life is massively important and really helps you to stop getting in your own way. My coach is actually based in Bali which is even more inspiring.

2. Books – The Go Giver & The Universe has your back

There are 2 books that have really given me clarity during this period. The first is called ‘The Go Giver’ by Bob Burg & John David Mann – a great book about a man who craves success and goes on a journey guided by short lessons that help open him up to the power of giving. This book was actually given to me by a friend 2 years ago, I believe this was part of his ‘Go Giving’. The second book is called ‘The Universe has your back” by Gabby Bernstein (New York Times Bestselling author), this book has literally become by bible teaching me to trust, believe, let go and have faith.

3.  Carrie Green – Programming your mind for success

I started the year watching a lot of motivational videos which was great for me as it really helped me to get pumped about leaving my job, its actually just what I needed. I also really enjoy watching Ted Talks, I even said that one day, I would love to speak at one myself #watchthisspace The below talk is by Carrie Green (Founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association), the talk hit such a chord that I bought her book (She means business) and although I haven’t yet read it, buying the book meant you could also sign up for a really resourceful Facebook Group which has added a lot of value to me. You can find the video below.

 

The Timber Festival

If you’ve been following my Content Ideas articles, you would have read lots of examples of how you can create fun and interesting blog content for your website. When your writing your content, its really good to throw in lots of photos, I often talk about the importance of story telling when I speak to clients and my recent trip to the Timber Festival is a great example of how you can do this especially if you attending events that you intend to share on your blogs.

Blog Post: The Timber Festival

On Sunday 8th July, I put on my festival attire and headed off to Feanedock, the 70 acre woodland located in the heart of the National Forest, bordering Derbeyshire and Leicestershire. Why I hear you ask? For the first ever Timber Festival, an extraordinary 3 day camping (and daytime) festival designed to explore the transformative impact of forests through a selection of music, art and philosophy organised by The National Forest in collaboration with Wild Rumpus.

I had chosen not to do a lot of research around the event, keen to keep an open mind and explore what was on offer and there was A LOT on offer! The vast woodland was split into 11 different spaces each with its own name and array of activities.

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First stop – The Common. The Common consisted of interactive workshops and demos from wood carving to a fire masterclass and create your own butterfly, which of course completely appealed to me.

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Next was Shivelight, being a scorching 30 Degrees, we were extremely relieved to be located in a tent in the shade, having read about this space in the programme and having missed the Laughter Yoga session (very sad about that), I was very excited to be trying out a Mindful Drawing Class. A brief introduction went straight into a 15 minute meditation by artist and well being expert Rachel Howfield Massey, we then went on to draw but this wasn’t any drawing class, it offered a chance to really focus on being mindful of the subject, for all of us, that was a leaf, we held it, stroked it, smelt it and really connected with it before we even started to thinking about drawing it, there was a little more to it but I wouldn’t want to give too much away. I completely loved this session! The technique was something completely original and Rachel was a fantastic teacher, being in nature whilst doing this class made me feel really at one!

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The trail to find food led us past the main Nightangale Music Stage which had pretty much back to back performances all day. Then onto an outside space for book worms called the Woodland Library where you could bring your own book or borrow one and read while swinging on hammocks in the woods. And finally a chance to be a Timber Festival Tourist.

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Then it was time for lunch, I was really impressed by the selection that included lots of meat options as well as vegetarian selections from the likes of Goody Gujurati & the very quirky Cheezy Vinyl .

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Our Sunday ended in the middle of the forest at The Eyrie Stage with an acoustic from musician Will Killen. The combination of his amazing voice and the beautiful surrounding completely blew me away and was a lovely end to a really nice day.

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I think what surprised me the most about the festival is how much there was to see and do, not just for adults but for children. Coming from London, I am always looking for new and exciting ways to keep occupied. I have never felt so at one with nature as I did during the festival and I don’t think visiting the forest is something I would have necessarily done is it wasn’t for the Timber Festival, so I am very grateful to have been able to go. I do wish I had more time to explore, sit, absorb and appreciate as well as watch these guys do their walk around the woods, so I definitely recommend camping over the whole weekend!

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Branding: Create a brand you love

Being a Digital Marekteer and specialising in content,  getting the content ready for my website was the most important task on my to do list when I made the decision to hand in my resignation and start planning my departure from the company I worked for.

What I hadn’t thought too much about was how I would brand the website, I knew I wanted it to be personable just like me and I had been toying with the idea of disassociating myself from my brand although, in haste, I had already bought a domain name that used my own name. As I started to build my website, I was really uninspired by what I created and the stock images just weren’t doing me justice however on the flip side I had also hit a brick wall from the brand perspective because I just couldn’t think of a name I loved. Love is very importantly to me in every aspect of my life, you are most passionate about the things you love and I knew I had to create a brand that reflected this. So how did I make my final decision about what you see now?

Well, being an Instagram Blogger (@thoughtsfashionlifestyle) has opened up lots of exciting opportunities and I was blessed to have been offered one by Leicestershire based Blogger & Creatives Photographer Kirstie Marie of KM Photographic. A photography session chosen at a location of my choice on a topic unique to me, the decision was easy, this would be a shoot of me at a relaxed cafe doing what I love. The cafe of choice was the beautiful Prana Cafe  in Leicester City Centre with its high ceilings and ornate decor and the images would complete my website.

Although you would have seen most of the photos taken on the day, I saved one to share with you here

…A Few Thank Yous

It was a massive blessing to have been given this opportunity and a big big thank you goes out to Prana Cafe for allowing me to use the stunning location (I also had the most amazing Walnut Cake and Chai Latte) and Thank you to Kirstie from KM Photographic who captured the mood so well and helped me create a brand that I really love.

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