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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Build Your Resume – Help Friends Create Winning Websites

Throughout the country, marketing managers have made the switch from focusing on written content and pictures, to placing much more emphasis on video.  All over the web, articles have popped up about the advantages of including video on company websites.

Google Loves Video Actually, it’s not so much that Google loves video as much as it is that the Google algorithm values time, as in the amount of time that the average visitors stays at a website once arriving.  Video, of course, gives visitors something to linger over, which means the average time spent at the website increases, and so does the Google ranking.

Great Way to Make the Brand Approachable Though marketers talk a lot about brand loyalty, in truth people are far more apt to feel loyalty for other people than they are to have loyalty for a brand.  Give the brand a face and a personality, and people are more likely to remember it when they are ready to buy.  Video can provide that.

Video Appeals to Mobile Users It is much easier to watch a video on a small screen than it is to scroll side-to-side, up-and-down to read the same information. Consumers spend a great deal of time on mobile devices these days.

Show the Products in Action Very often, it is difficult to really portray how great a product is in a photo.  Video may be the answer, providing potential customers a real vision of how the product would make life easier or more enjoyable.

These are just some of the advantages that you should be mentioning to friends and family members who own or operate a business.  All of the video is going to call for some voiceover work.  Offer your services at a discount, provide them a professional-sounding video for their companies, and get yourself some new additions to your VO resume. And of course, get your voice out there!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Why You Should be Writing as a Voiceover Artist

Although you may be tempted to believe that there is little need for voiceover artists to spend any time writing when their time would be better spent in the recording studio, that is a misconception.  There are many good reasons to set aside time each week to spend with your keyboard. 

Although many people would tell you that the blogging movement has died, that is most definitely not the truth.  Many businesses – even those consisting of only one or two people – have already discovered the power of content marketing.  You may consider yourself only a voiceover talent, but if you are finding- and securing your own work, if you are reporting self-employment income each year, you are much more than a voiceover actor or actress.  You are a business owner.  In order to continue to grow that business and, therefore, your income, you should most definitely consider content marketing.  Here are three great reasons why you should do so:

#1.Content is Shared Social media is now a way of life.  People spend hours each day checking in and sharing things that interest them.  Create the content that appeals to others and they will happily share it, which means your brand appears before a larger audience – perhaps some who will become your future clients.

#2. Requires Only a Modest Budget Content marketing doesn’t require a big budget, as many other forms of marketing do.  You can get away with a very modest budget if you are willing to put in the time and energy to create regular, worthwhile content.  Perhaps you may pay to boost a social post upon sharing your content or you may pay a small fee to procure photos to match your written work, but the expenses are minimal.

#3. One More Way to Establish Your VO Reputation If you want to really concrete your place in this business, the best way to do so is to establish a reputation of industry expert.  How do you do that?  You keep signing VO jobs, you read and comment on articles related to the industry, and you write your own pieces that make It clear that you are well-informed and experienced.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Good and Bad of Personality

As a voiceover artist, you are most likely working as an independent contractor.  That is to say that you are running your own business.  That makes you a small business owner and puts you in charge of your fate. For some, this is an easy role to accept, but for others, personality traits get in the way of success.  There are certain traits that can make it harder to make it as a voiceover artist, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible.  If you are aware of this personality flaw, you can work to make it better.  On the other hand, if you have a winning personality trait, you can make the most of it to help your career along.

The Good Let’s first look at the traits often shared by the country’s leading businessmen.

Courageous Some might call it foolish to take chances, but you can’t build a business if you don’t accept the risk of starting the process.  Risk taking, as long as it is done with forethought, can be a very rewarding trait to possess as a business owner.

Confident Do not confuse this with conceit.  Confidence is the knowledge that you can accomplish your goal, but that it will require a certain level of humility. You must believe in your talents and your ability to grow a business, or else you'll be doomed to failure.

MalleableThough life would be easier if everything went our way all of the time, but no one ever said life would be easy.  You will have to make changes, make exceptions, and make concessions in order to successfully work with others.  Clients won’t always have the same vision as you do, and you must be flexible if you hope to continue to build strong relationships in the industry.

The Bad On the other hand, of course, there are those personality traits that could stand in your way, if you don’t recognize them and work to overcome them.

Narcissist The business may be all yours, but your success will depend on many.  Don’t get too caught up in yourself.  This is a business that will involve putting the wishes of others before your own from time to time.  Narcissism could cost your dearly.

Lackadaisical Self-motivation is one of the most important things you can possess when starting and operating your own business. If you are too easily persuaded to sit on the couch or to laze, you will undoubtedly miss the opportunities to grow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Do You Stand a Chance Against a Big Name?

There has certainly been on a long-lasting trend in the voiceover industry of clients opting to pay big bucks in order to get a recognizable voice behind their work.  Those recognizable voices, of course, belong to the famous on-screen performers that we have all grown to love through their various movies or TV shows.  So, what chance do you stand of scoring a good job when there are movie and television performers willing to take on the additional work?  The truth is that your chances may not be as bad as you believe.

There are reasons, of course, to consider the big name with the recognizable voice.  For animated films, the names can help sell the movie (especially when those individuals are willing to go on promotional tours).  However, there are also major benefits for those willing to hire a voiceover professional rather than the screen actor/actress:

1.    The Cost The big name usually commands a big price tag, and that means that the client is going to pay dearly for that recognizable voice.  In many cases, the celebrity isn’t going to bring enough added fanfare to make the investment worthwhile.

2.    The Experience Surely, that television or movie star has an extensive resume and more than ample acting experience.  However, he or she is less likely to have spent much time behind the microphone.  There are big differences between screen acting and voiceover work.  You’ve already had the training and experience.  You know how to bring a character to life despite sitting along in a recording studio.  The big name may present bigger challenges.

3.    Repeat Recording There is another big risk when it comes to bringing a big name into the studio – future projects.  Hiring a great voiceover talent like you means the chance to have the same great quality recordings for future projects.  However, just because a one-time relationship has been built with the famous voice doesn’t mean that it will be possible to sign that person on for future work, especially if he or she is in big demand for TV or film.

The morale of this story is simple – don’t be afraid to try!  Even if you have heard rumors that the client is trying to bring in a famous figure, it doesn’t hurt to submit your demo.  Don’t undersell yourself.  After all, you may be far more desirable than you believe.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Using Humor to Help Your Voiceover Career

I’ve written many times about the many different roles that the average voiceover artist must fulfill in order to keep his or her career on the desired path.  In most instances, this does involve the actual business operations, because most voiceover actors and actresses are self-employed and contracted by clients to record.  This also means that there is a need for a healthy understanding of marketing.  In this day and age, much of the marketing will be done online, and this blog post is going to look at how humor can play a big role in that arena.

The inspiration for this blog post comes from an article featured in a sports publication, believe it or not.  The story, though, had a lot to do with voiceover because it was about the humorous efforts of one voiceover talent to put a spin on the OJ Simpson parole hearing.  This involved a lot of questionable humor, of course, including language that would not appeal to all.  However, for those who have been wound up in the Simpson drama since the release of the documentary not long ago, the footage is being widely shared and discussed.

Whether you love it or hate it, you must admit that the voiceover work was a spot of genius from a marketing standpoint.  It showcased the artist’s ability to show emotion, to time his recording to match the video, and to infuse humor in his work.  More importantly, it gained him a lot of exposure as the video has been viewed more than 19,000 times (at the time that this is being written) and has received more than 400 comments.

The fact is that people appreciate humor, which is something that is important to remember as you market your own brand.  You will, undoubtedly, want to release samples of your voiceover work, but not all have to be straightforward works.  There is value in engaging audiences in other ways.  People are more apt to share and engage with your content if they feel that they are getting something out of it, so give them a laugh.  And that OJ video with the VO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRfIiui9Qxw  WARNING: Foul language

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Casting Director Gives Input on Role of Social Media

Backstage released this video nearly a year ago, but it is worth bringing to the forefront again.  If there is one topic that remains a constant source of controversy in this industry, it is the role of social media.  I've written about it numerous times on this blog, suggesting over and over again that it is not something that can be ignored.  The value of social media for building a voiceover business cannot be denied any longer, yet there are so many trying to make it in this market who don’t use social media, or don’t use it well.  Now, I'm no expert but Benton Whitley explains, very well, the importance of media marketing and gives several tips that are worth consideration.

Casting Directors are On Social Media As a voiceover artist, you would be foolish to avoid social media.  This is one of the best places to make direct connections with the potential clients who may wish to hire you in the future.  They aren’t just on social media for professional reasons.  Most are also using social media on a personal level, which means that you have the opportunity to truly entertain and engage them.  Create content that will showcase your talents, but also provides some value to the individual.

Avoid Negativity This is a point made in the video that should not be ignored.  There are a lot of people, as Whitley points out, who are prone to use their social accounts to rant about the things that are bothering them.  Often, these rants pertain to their work.  It is important to remember who you are trying to appeal to online.  Complaints, criticisms, and other such negativity can turn the casting directors and potential clients away very quickly.

Keep the Content Fresh Whitley also points out the importance of adding new video and content on a regular basis.  You don’t want him (or potential client) searching your name online only to find the same videos that they were seeing a decade earlier.  He suggests cleaning out old content that no longer shows you to your best advantage.  Posting regular, fresh content can assist your career in many ways.  One of those, of course, is giving the casting directors something new to look at.  Another is providing fans something to share and engage with.  The more they see of your name, the more they hear of your voice, the more likely they are to remember you and associate you with the voiceover industry.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Designing Your Voiceover Logo

When you make the decision to follow through with your dream to become a voice actor, you are essentially embracing the life of a business owner.  For the vast majority of voiceover artists, it is necessary to work on a contract basis, which means that you will operate as a self-employed talent.  That also means that you will likely spend a lot of time and energy advertising your brand.  One great way to spread brand awareness is to create a business logo that can be used to create a consistent appearance across all platforms – website, social media, letterhead, email, resume, demo cover, etc.  There are a few things to keep in mind, though, as you set out to create that logo.

Keep It Simple This is important for many reasons.  Take a moment to think of some of the most successful logos – Nike, Apple, Pepsi, Chevrolet, etc.  All are very simple and could almost be drawn from memory.  That is what you want for your own brand.  You want others to be able to easily call to mind exactly what your logo looks like.  Simplicity is also important for the purpose of being able to manage consistency.  Large enough for a banner or small enough for an Instagram profile pic, your logo must be able to be clean, clear, and easily detected at any size.

Involve the Theme If possible, consider hinting at the type of work that you do.  That doesn’t have to be as involved as a microphone in your logo, but there are ways to give a taste of the purpose of your business.  Think about IBM and how their logo gives a hint of their legacy in the computer industry.  When you look close enough, you see it, but they didn’t include computer screen in the logo.

Attempt to Make it Timeless What is trendy today will most definitely not be trendy five years from now.  Do your best to ignore that compulsion to stick with what is currently popular and aim to create something simple that will be relevant on your business’ 20th anniversary.

Consider Hiring a Logo Designer  Hiring a good designer can be fruitful since they are used to finding the subtle nuances of specific businesses and bringing them forward into a impactful design. For voice over talent we want to show personality, brand, signature sound and experience. A good designer will know what to do when you give him/her as much information as possible about your talent and business.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

3 Better Business Practices for Voiceover Artists

If there is one thing that we must learn and accept in life, it is that there is always room for improvement.  Always we learn, always we grow, and those who will be the greatest successes are those that will use those lessons to be better.    That said, as a voiceover artist, there is a good chance that these four areas of your business could be improved upon:

1.    Social Media Profiles This is, arguably, the most difficult aspect of running a voiceover business, for the vast majority of VO artists.  Why?  Social media is time consuming.  There is no exact science to mastering social media, and yet we all know that it can offer our businesses great value.  So, what should you do to make your profiles better?  If you haven’t yet, get some really great, professional head shots taken.  People want to associate a social account with a face.  After all, it’s all about human interaction.  Also, take a close look at your introductory statement.  Most social platforms allow you to have one on your profile page.  This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that every visitor knows what you do and why you are better than the competition.  Thirdly, be sure that you are posting regular updates.  The more active you are on social media, the more likely you are to make the connections that will lead to future paying work.

2.    Scheduling For much the same reason as I listed social media, I am listing scheduling.  It requires time to sit down and lay out the schedule for the day, week, month, quarter, etc.   If you are like many business professionals, you forego the formal scheduling process, hastily writing little notes to yourself on a desk calendar or, at most, setting a reminder in your phone.  However, as your business gets busier, that becomes an increasingly risky habit.  It’s best to have a very clean calendar, on the cloud, that can be accessed from anywhere.  You should block out days and times for the administrative tasks as well, so you don’t get too bogged down and fail to complete them.

3.    Response Time I’ve already mentioned social media, but that isn’t the only place that others may try to reach out to you.  This item combines the first two.  Communication is the foundation of every great business.  You have to set aside time to answer the questions, concerns, and comments of others, if you hope to build the sort of network that will make you a voiceover success.  If it is taking you days or even weeks to respond to emails and social media comments, then you are missing what could be very valuable opportunities.