In an ongoing effort to help “Give you an Edge” on you voiceover career, the staff and coaches from Edge Studio have provided another series of tips that they’ve allowed me to share. Last month’s Edge Studio Performance Tips give way to this month’s series of Edge Studio Marketing Tips.
Today’s article, the first of four coming this month, is designed to help make you realize that even though your voice won’t be seen, it is vitally important to ‘look’ like a voiceover pro in every aspect of your business. For more free tips visit the Edge Studio Free Career Center.
By: Edge Studio Staff
Actors know that the camera adds 10 pounds. Poor souls. In voice over, fortunately, we need not worry about our weight. The expression, “You have a face for radio.” comes to mind.
But we still have an image – a marketing image. And your CD demos, business cards, websites, postcards, flyers, invoices, give-away-mouse-pads… must look professional because THEY REPRESENT YOU. Face it: wrong or right, how you “sound” is often assumed by how you “look”.
So while you actors need to avoid burgers, it’s time for us voice over artists to beef up our image.
So today, we’ll take a look at the words that represent you. Next week, we’ll discuss graphics, logos, fonts, colors, and themes.
WHO ARE YOU
How weird is this: A voice talent emails their demo to me. They sign their name:
Ann “Joanne” Barone
So what should I call them? If I save them under Ann in my files, they better hope I don’t look under Joanne when I need to hire them.
Why WHY must people make me remember two names when one is hard enough????
Businesses use one name. Folks, you ARE a business – we suggest using one name.
HOW TO CONTACT YOU
How weird is this: A voice talent emails their demo to me. They leave their phone number:
So which one should I dial? About a third of demos show up with multiple numbers. This is confusing. Businesses use one number. Folks, you ARE a business – we suggest using one number.
Now, some folks provide multiple numbers with a description:
Actually, I still don’t know which one to dial.
If you must have multiple numbers, please clarify (and make it look professional!). For example:
daytime studio: 422-045-3932
evening/weekend/rush jobs: 422-589-3856
I’m reminded of a voice over artist who paid me to evaluate his demo. “I get no work from mailing out my CD!” he said. Before listening to it, I told him why: there was no contact information on it. He blamed his designer. I blamed him. We’ve seen this quite a few times.
WHAT YOU PROVIDE
Play devil’s advocate: You know what “voice over” is… but do your potential customers? If you’re marketing to producers, talent agents, and so on, then yes – they know. In this case, be SURE that every piece of branding says “Voice Over Artist” or “Voice Actor” or “Voice Talent” or so on.
But if your potential customers do NOT know what “voice over” is, then they’ll toss your marketing material because they assume they have no use for you! (Would you hold onto the business card of a Ranger Expert?) In this case, define what you do. For example, write, “I provide Spoken Word Narrations for Corporate Training Videos, Telephone Recordings, Tradeshow Exhibits, and Commercials.
INDUSTRY STANDARD TERMINOLOGY
While we’re at it, let me expand upon the above: Use words that your potential customers will understand. For example, when marketing to a corporation that hires voice over artists to narrate telephony scripts, don’t call it “telephony” because they don’t know that word. Call it what they call it. Say, “I provide Narration for Telephone Recordings, such as Message-On-Hold, Voice Mail Systems, Voice Recognition Systems, and other Telephone systems.
Once again, a sore topic comes up: naming MP3 demos. The vast majority of demos we receive are named in such a way that YOU LOSE WORK, and make it more difficult for us casting professionals! Grrrrr…. Someone emailed me two demos – like this:
Someone else sent:
01 commercial final
01 commercial revised
Someone else sent:
And someone else sent:
DGHarding – audiobook mp3.mp3
Unless someone’s demos are written something clear like this:
Barry Johnson – commercial voice over demo
Barry Johnson – promo voice over demo
Downloading them into our files is meaningless.
CONSIDER HOW casting professionals will search through THEIR files for YOUR demo:
They will probably look under your first name, so let your file name begin with “Joe Shmoe”.
They will NOT understand abbreviations such as “adbk” for “audiobook”.
They will NOT know the difference between “commercial radio” and “commercials”.
There is usually NO reason to include word like “revised” or “version 2″ in your file name.
All too often, voice-talent’s marketing materials provide contradicting information. For example, their business card lists a different email address than their CD demo. Or their CD says “voice over talent” while their resume says “Voice Actor”. Or their give-away-pencils says “radio commercials” while their letterhead says, “commercials.”
We strongly encourage you to be consistent. Inconsistent messages confuse your potential customers – and that means they’re less likely to hire you.
Can you only be hired by your agent? Then only put your agent’s contact information on your marketing materials!!!! Why? Because putting your own information as well a) it makes you look like you’re willing to work behind your agent’s back and b) can tempt casting professionals to call you so that they avoid your agent’s “middle man” charge (which, by the way, is justified).
Why do SO many voice talent waste my time? I can NOT predict if you’re union or not. Please, tell me, so if I’m hiring union talent, I know who to call and when I’m not, I know who to call.
And please tell me where you reside! 99% of folks who market their demos do NOT say this. So every time one of our clients wants to record at our location, we need to call the talent and ask. This is time-consuming.
Some folks send us invoices like this:
Amount due: $350
Not very helpful. In fact this sort of email causes extra work on our end, and makes us less likely to hire you again. Consider being professional and send this:
INVOICE for Voice Over work
JOB: voice over for Acme Training Video
JOB DATE: June 24, 2009
AMOUNT DUE: $350
Please make check payable to: Joe Shmoe
Please mail check to: Joe Shmoe
City, State, Zip
Question? Just ask.
Need revisions? I offer special low rates.
Be sure to come back and visit next week for Edge Studio Marketing Tips: The Look Of A Voice Over Artist – Part 2.