By Stephanie Ciccarelli
May 4, 2008
As promised, here starts the coverage of the presentations at the Voice Coaches Advanced Marketing Expo and Conference that was held in Schenectady, NY.
To kick things off, I'd like to share the Voices.com presentation with you and other articles will follow throughout the week.
Check out the Secret Playbook for Marketing on Voices.com and the Internet!
You can revisit this playbook once per year. Just like you would a business plan or doing an annual check-up at the doctors who looks for the same stuff year-over-year, itâ€™s important to have a solid foundation for your voice acting career.
Even though youâ€™re a freelancer, every person in business is supported by their peers and colleagues within the industry. Consider yourself a business person. Reality is that you are in business, and the service you provide is voice-over.
Your winning team will include:
â€¢ Voice Coach
â€¢ Voice Over Agent
â€¢ Peer Support Group
â€¢ People in Your Social Network
â€¢ Tech Guy or Gal and Web Guy or Gal
â€¢ Vendors and Partners
â€¢ Lawyer and Business Advisers
â€¢ Role Model or Mentor
â€¢ Spouse or Significant other
From the second string goalies to the captain of the team, everybody goes to training camp, plays the exhibition games and gears up for the season opener.
Going to events like this, or study privately or taking a course to improve your skill set. Just because you have decades of experience doesnâ€™t mean that you donâ€™t have to brush up your skills every so often.
Apply the techniques that you learned during training without being penalized during the regular season.
â€¢ Learn how to use your computer, recording equipment and websites
â€¢ Outline a workflow for how you handle an audition
â€¢ Set-up systems for how you going to manage your contacts, organize scripts, auditions and send invoices
Your Profile is your online storefront at Voices.com and is used to conduct business with clients from around the world if used effectively. An incomplete Profile is not representative of you and your body of work nor will it attract prospective clients or index much about your skills as results for search engines such as Google, MSN or Yahoo!.
One of the criteria that influences the rankings in the Voices.com Search Engine is "Profile Completeness". People who have completed profiles will rank higher in search results than those whose profiles are incomplete. You can measure your Profile Completeness in your account.
â€¢ Fill out as much of your Profile as you canâ€¨
â€¢ List anything and everything that supports your voice acting careerâ€¨
â€¢ Upload samples of your voiceâ€¨
â€¢ Use keywords that relate to your voice, studio equipment, clients, etc.â€¨
â€¢ Select voice ages, skills, years of experience and other criteriaâ€¨
â€¢ Add testimonials in your Experience area
One of those winning, but counterintuitive strategies in marketing is to be different. You can accomplish this by creating a visual brand that positively identifies you.
We've designed several new themes to help you personalize and brand your Voices.com website. There are 22 elegantly designed themes to choose from and they'll be available in your Profile section, under Themes.
Does your Voices.com website have a placeholder avatar where your picture, logo, or graphical representation could be? Without an image that represents you as a professional, it is hard to relate to you and next to impossible to see how you brand yourself and your voice acting business.
Upload an image to your account, whether it be a professional head shot, cartoon image or corporate logo. This is a golden opportunity to brand your website! Let people know more about you visually to become intrigued enough to listen to your voice over demos. If you don't want to present a photo of yourself, you don't have to, but it is wise to have something to brand yourself with - just don't be a placeholder.
Famous advertising executive David Ogilvy say â€œThe headline is the â€˜ticket on the meat.â€™ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of service you are offering.â€
When a client is looking through the Voices.com search engine or is visiting your website at Voices.com, the first textual impression they get of you and your voice comes from your vocal description. If a description lacks the appropriate adjectives that best describe your voice and an element of pizazz or originality, it makes it easier for a client to overlook your Profile due to lack of perceived information or detail upfront before they listen to your voice over demos.
What's an example of a weak description? Try this one on for size: Strong, great for all kinds of reads, can be old or young.
Really and truly describe your voice. Three adjectives (unless they are extremely telling and succinct) aren't enough to whet an ad exec's appetite when they are looking for something that stands out from the crowd and gives them an immediate impression of your vocal capabilities.
Ask yourself "If I were a client, would I hire me based upon what I have on my website?"
Your vocal description should not only be a litany of complementary keywords about your voice but also a persuasive advertisement for your voice. Those who can describe their talents in an inviting and appealing manner will be listened to and hired.
Your voice description provides a summary of your vocal qualities and abilities. Your voice description is also visible in the search results as well as on your website.
Sample 1: Jim's voice is quite versatile and has been referred to as genuine, charismatic, and hilarious. Ranging from characters such as the stereotypical football coach to a doting father, Jim is able to cater his performance into a voiceover that works perfectly for your project.
Sample 2: Annette has a wide spectrum of vocal capabilities. Trained as a classical singer, Annette's vocal elasticity and burnished tone color shines brilliantly through commercials, telephone recordings, and children's audiobook narration projects.
Sample 3: Richard's light tenor voice is caring, authoritative, and didactic. Richard specializes in recording for educational materials and has an impressive command of technical jargon for medical and scientific scripts.
No matter how you slice it, sometimes, interpretations can sound more like reiterations or regurgitations. The client doesn't want to hear theme and variation when they click on demos that are classified as being in completely different niches or for distinct applications.
Make sure that your vocal style, interpretation, tonality, versatility, and range varies not only from demo to demo, but from spot to spot.
If you work in radio as an announcer, for instance, be sure that your voice is not stuck in a radio rut. Announcers and DJs, (sorry to pick on you!), do at times adopt the same delivery and vocal approach for voice over as they do when on the air. The trick to all this is to concentrate on voice acting and really interpreting a script, internalizing it, and giving the words their own unique embodiment using your voice.
When you go to a store and pick up a product, you likely read all of the advertising copy, the ingredients (if it's food), and once you've done so, are able to discern what it is that you may be purchasing. It's the exact same with demos. Simply giving your demo a category isn't enough when a client is looking for something very specific to their needs.
Be sure to properly name (the "title") and label (the "tags") all of your demos in the appropriate field when you are in the process of uploading them. If you do that, you'll not only rank higher in the search results and be found in more places, clients are more likely to listen to your demo and hire you for work. Why? Because you've clearly identified the style, voice type, tone, and supplied other adjectives that describe your voice and the audio recording.
Don't make any assumptions - not everyone is a casting director by trade and most people will appreciate the extra details.
As a Premium or Preferred member, you have the ability to promote your voice in a variety of application specific categories such as TV Commercials, Movie Trailers, Telephone System Recordings, and so on.
If you aren't making use of the real estate being provided to you as part of your membership, you are missing out big time on clients finding you who prefer to search in this manner.
When you are uploading your demos, be sure to check the box that says "Feature this demo". If you are a Premium member, you have unlimited categories to feature your voice in. As a Preferred member, you have 5 categories to feature your voice over demos in.
You can change which demos you feature and their respective categories at any time in the Studio section of your Profile.
When a new job that matches your preferences and skills is approved at Voices.com, you will receive an email from us with an invitation to reply to the job posting. Simply click through the "Reply to Job" button to audition right away.
Your jobs manager organizes all voice-over jobs in one central location. All job notifications are governed by your user Preferences in your Account and Settings area.
Simply put, you are auditioning or applying for a job online using the Internet, a medium that is available to you 24/7.
The Internet is generally a one-way medium wherein the person using it is able to move along at their own pace and fulfill a task with the help of their personal computer or hand-held device using an Internet connection.
As a freelancer applying for a job online, be sure that the person on the receiving end of your bid for the work is provided with all of the information necessary to make a hiring decision while they are reviewing your submission ONLINE.
Your Proposal Should Include 5 Critical Components:
1. Your nameâ€¨
2. Sample of your voice (or work)â€¨
3. Proposal detailing why you want the jobâ€¨
4. How long it will take you to completeâ€¨
How effective are ads or websites that have no obvious call for action? Not very, but with a solid call for action or invitation, you'll see remarkable results.
Invite and encourage potential clients to send you an email if they like what they hear so that you can further discuss their objectives and how you can work together.
Now, those are just ten of the most common mistakes. Here are some more that fall in line with what we've discussed but are further along in the routine chain of events.
Dear (Contact Name)
Thank you for the opportunity to present my custom demo to you and quote for your commercial project.
I have extensive experience recording for radio and television commercials and I confidently feel that my voice meets the requirements listed in your project details. I can deliver your audio within 24 hours via email or on CD.
My rate for a :30 national broadcast commercial recording is $.
Looking forward to working with you.
â€œThe ones that were the most succinct (but still had all of the info I really needed) were the most appealingâ€ ~ Dana Detrick-Clark from Serious Vanity Music
1. There are millions of blogs out there on the Internet (get recent stat)
2. There are now over 50 voice acting blogs on the Internet.
1. Discover a blog
2. Subscribe to that blog
3. Comment on articles
Comments add value to the conversation thatâ€™s already going on.
1. Be insightful
2. Carry Momentum
â€¢ Bloggers love to approve valid comments to share with their audience
â€¢ Comments can be reassuring to a blogger
â€¢ Comments validate what has been written
â€¢ Comments provide new ideas for the voice over community.
â€¢ Wonderful way to introduce yourself to other people
â€¢ Build links to your website
â€¢ Keep yourself involved in the conversation
Bloggers need to:
1. Promote their blog
2. Build an audience
3. Write consistently
4. Reach out to their readers
5. Help direct the conversation
Podcasting is audio content on-demand, when you want it, where you want and how you want it.
Listening to podcasts is:
3. Community oriented
Most podcasts are accompanied by a blog. The blog often includes:
1. Synopsis of the show
2. Show notes with links to websites
3. An image or picture
4. Area for comments
5. Opportunity to submit audio feedback.
Social Networking can be an integral part of your marketing mix.
Connect with other people who:
1. Are in a position to further your career
2. Could become a client of your services
3. Network with as friends.
Some tips when using Social networks are:
1. Use the same name and photo at all sites so that people can easily recognize you
2. Personalize your profile and list your business information
3. Upload audio samples if you can and link to your website
4. Keep any information that you want to remain private off of your profile
5. Add friends to network with and try your best not to become addicted!
If you found this presentation insightful, download the entire presentation as a PDF, then leave a comment below.
Stephanie and David
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