Getting the most out of Canva – yes even the free version, with Thea Newcomb

18 Nov, 2020 | Podcast, Season 4

This week Katie talks to Thea Newcomb, founder of Thea Newcomb Training & Consulting. This week’s guest is one of only 2 Canva ambassadors in Scotland. They talked a lot about Canva where Thea shared her incredible tips for getting the most out of Canva and using it to create amazing images and videos for your online blogs and social media content. They also talk about the bare minimum of digital marketing planning, raising your prices and designing and publishing your own books on Amazon.

This is another jam packed Whin Big Podcast, so be sure to tune into the episode itself to get all the insight and details – and information on Thea’s special offer on Canva training especially for Whin Big Podcast listeners.

Finding joy in radio and podcasting

Thea moved to Scotland in 1992 and started working in radio. She moved away from that industry as a career, but still dips in and out hosting shows on a station called Radio 6 International. For Thea, radio is a complete joy so it was an easy decision to get into podcasting. A subject close to Katie’s heart!

The podcast Thea hosts has a strong positivity message around ageing and female empowerment and it’s a passion project that she enjoys so much. In fact, her love of podcasting and hosting radio is so strong she wishes she’d gone into it years ago, but didn’t because she didn’t have the skills or confidence to give it a shot.

Life after radio

Leaving radio behind for passion projects only, Thea moved into website design, where she was encouraged to run training workshops for Business Gateway. Despite having reservations, she’s never looked back!  

Making the Covid pivot 

Similarly, Thea had no desire to make the leap to online training and webinars – despite being encouraged to by her clients through her Business Gateway training. She’d been encouraged by clients to run her Canva training courses online, but felt there was enough online training already available and was happy to keep up the face to face sessions.

Until of course, March 2020. When Covid changed everything. In almost no time she’d gone from never running a webinar in her life to running all of her sessions online.

“Lockdown has pressed everything forward for us and pushed us out of our comfort zones.” – Thea

Recognising your limits as an employee

Thea loves the flexibility and diversity of being her own boss. She can pick and choose the projects and activities on a daily basis, based on what she loves to do. For Thea, being self-employed isn’t the easiest way to make a living – it can be feast or famine, but it’s certainly interesting. 

“Being self employed is not for the faint hearted. I’ve always run my own businesses because I’m a terrible employee. I couldn’t work for someone else, I made my own career.” – Thea

Marketing on social media – the Thea way

Despite giving training on digital marketing, Thea’s not a huge fan of marketing on social media. In a dream world, she would either outsource all forms of social media, or be in a place where her business doesn’t need it.

In reality, a lot of her clients are referred to her through Business Gateway so there’s less pressure to take part in digital marketing activities, but she understands the need for social proof and will post tips and links to her workshops. Albeit in a sporadic way!

“On social media: I am not as consistent as I would recommend to people I work with. It’s a case of do as I say, not as I do.” – Thea

Thea’s recommendations for online marketing: 

Whilst her social media marketing might not be as watertight as she’d like, Thea does stick to a few rules around online marketing and always recommends these activities to her own clients:

  • Consistency across all channels
    • The same two or three fonts, colours, templates so there’s branding consistency all the time.
  • Experimenting about what marketing works for your business rather than generic businesses
    • “I’ve noticed if I post too late, I get very few likes. You have to figure out when your audience is online, look at the insights and figure out how it fits together”.

“In everything I do I say there’s no cookie cutter solution. I tell people – try a few things, check the insights. It might not work for your business just because it’s worked for another.” – Thea

Thea’s Things own marketing activities 

Thea tends to work her digital marketing on an adhoc basis, rather than plan or schedule her content. When she does plan out her social media she uses Hootsuite and Twitter directly.

  •  Twitter
    • Daily tweets & retweets, sharing something people will enjoy.
  • Facebook groups & pages
    • Canva group for previous training clients – 3 posts per week
    • Thea’s Things business page – weekly posts
  • Instagram
    • Thea has a few personal profiles on Instagram – a business page for Canva related posts and one for her website building business
  • Blogging
    • Posts an article every Monday

Get the most out of Canva (yes, even the free version)

Katie asked Thea to share her essential tips for using Canva as a marketing tool.

  1. Set up your brand kit for consistency
    • If you use the free version, you can choose up to 3 colours from your logo or site to use in everything you design. This keeps your branding consistent across all platforms and is a great way to access your brand elements quickly
    • Canva Pro users can choose more colours, and upload fonts (although there are so many fonts in Canva, it’s hard to see why you would need to!)
  2. Blog post headers
    • If you’re blogging, create header graphics with the title of your blog post designed in the header. This makes it easier to see the title (and who wrote it) if people share it
    • Create a pinterest sized post with a link to the blog and post on Pinterest
  3. Create the right sized templates for each platform you use
    • Instagram will have Stories & Post stories
    • Facebook templates should be kept in the middle as Canva doesn’t always get the sizing right
    • Linked in – use 1200 x 628 for text based posts
      • Keep in mind this template isn’t available for Canva
  4. Canva Video
    • Thea recommends posting video on all channels as this format gets the most engagement
    • She recommends spending time making sure there’s value in your video, rather than posting it just for the ‘likes’
    • For anyone struggling with the Reels function on Instagram, Katie highly recommends using the video function on Canva. Recently she created a slideshow video to advertise her Instagram course. She made a slide for each video clip and added text and effects to it. She added music and photos and Canva laced it together to create a short video.

Become a publishing success – a special offer for Whin Big Podcast listeners

Using Canva, Thea has designed hundreds of planners and journals and sells them on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Now Thea wants to teach you how to design and publish your own paperback book.
In just one 90 minute 1:1 session, with Thea you’ll design the cover of your book, design the interior and then upload the whole manuscript to Amazon to sell.

By the end of the session you’ll know how to publish your own books on Amazon. With this option you could design and sell:

  • Line journals
  • Workbooks for clients
  • Social media planners and so many more options!

Once you know how to do one, you can make many.

Normally this (amazing) workshop is £150, but Whin Big Podcast listeners get a 20% discount! Just mention the podcast when you get in touch with Thea.

Thea’s book recommendations

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!* by Denise Duffield Thomas
Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age* by Jonah Berger

Connect with Thea





Thea’s website

* Links marked with a star are affliate links to When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to supporting your local bookshop, and a small portion comes to The Whin. The books won’t cost you any extra!

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