Laurie Ehrlich is the Founder + Chief Strategist of Elevate Marketing Strategy.
Firstly, many people fear the words 'personal brand' as it means going public with your thoughts. I want to know if you have always found it easy to 'put yourself out there'?
It has not always been easy to put myself out there. I used to be the person whose hands went clammy before a public speaking event and hated walking into a room of people I don't know. Once I gained confidence, through many avenues, those fears melted away and now it comes very naturally.
When it comes to building an authentic personal brand, what advice would you give professionals starting out?
Put in the time. You have to figure out what differentiates you from others, and build trust. The latter does not happen overnight.
Do you think personal branding and reputation go hand in hand, and what can people do to maintain a positive reputation while brand-building?
Be visible! Respectfully engage with others on social media. Attend networking + industry events. Reach out to others that you want to be associated with and invite them out for coffee.
Can you share a success story of how you or someone you follow used their personal brand to build business or career?
When I first started following Shannon McKinstrie, she had been a social media manager, primarily for real estate agents, for 5 years. She has gone from a social media following of 12,000 to over 135,000, leads society for business owners, is a trainer and speaker, and runs a successful agency. She did this by putting herself out there, sharing interesting content, having a positive aura, and having fun.
Which platforms do you find most effective for establishing thought leadership and growing professional presence?
LinkedIn, other social media platforms where you can highlight your personality, speaking at conferences, sharing your subject matter expertise on guest blogs and forecasts.
How do you ensure your personal brand stays true to who you are and your evolving goals?
If it feels inauthentic, I shy away from it. I'd rather have a smaller following of engaged audience members rather than a huge one where no one really cares.
What are some practical strategies or tactics professionals can use to expand their network and build meaningful connections?
Be consistent, join conversations, connect with people you admire, use discretion and class on social media, ask for mentor- or apprenticeships, harness the power of your community.
Along your personal branding journey, have you encountered any common obstacles that readers of this interview should be aware of?
Imposter syndrome is a real thing.
Imagine you have a time machine that can transport you to the future. What impact do you envision your personal brand having on the world?
I have been in the nonprofit space forever and believe in mission-based marketing. Transporting into the future would mean that nonprofits have rock solid loyalty from their audiences, and gifts flowing in by the dozen.
Close your eyes and imagine you're a bestselling author. What captivating book would you write to share your personal brand journey and insights?
Hiking without Handrails: Slowly Climbing Your Way to the Top