VO Marketing Tips – Part 1, The Basics

For the past few years, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of taking part in an exciting and wonderful career as a Voice Talent. Because I have such a passion for voice acting, it naturally drives me to want to succeed and see my business flourish. Most people, when I tell them what I do for a living, simply shake their heads in amazement and exclaim how cool it must be to get paid “just for using my voice”. I smile, shake my head vehemently, and agree. But, as all of us in the industry know, the fun part of using your voice is probably only 20% of the job! The rest is comprised of everything else that is required to operate and maintain a successful business. A large part of that is knowing how to market yourself to generate new business, as well as having an effective plan to nurture and sustain existing business relationships.

Along my journey, I have experienced many trials and tribulations, and have been truly blessed to have learned a few lessons along the way. I certainly do not claim to be a marketing expert to any degree, but I’d love to share some marketing tips that were effective for my business. I hope that they can, in some way, help you too, and allow you to truly flourish in this great industry!

Some basic tips that I have found to be really helpful in expanding my business include:

Get Your Demo Professionally Produced and Keep it Fresh!

This is your most important marketing tool and vital to your success as a voice over artist. If you are serious at all about your VO business, this should be your number one goal. As you grow as an artist and as a business, it will be necessary to keep your demos current and even add more to your current portfolio. Go to a professional studio and make it a priority to invest in your demo – it is your calling card!

Write a Great Bio

A foundation to marketing yourself – Even if you are just starting out in the business, you will need to provide people with information about who you are and your relevant experience. For many of us, this can be an immensely difficult task! Once your bio is developed, however, it can be used many times over – as part of your business introduction for new clients, a cover letter for auditions, Bid Response letters, as well as a section on your website.

Talk about what you do

All the time – to everyone! You never know who may be in need of your services. Even if they may not be in need of your services right now, they just might be later on down the road, or they may know someone who is. Don’t be shy! People always seem to be fascinated with the concept of voice overs as a business – and it’s a great ice breaker and conversation piece at parties!

Figure out your “Brand” and Develop a Strategy

This is a vital step in creating and establishing your identity as a voice over artist. Exactly “who” are you and what is your specialty? Your brand identity will be repeatedly communicated, in multiple ways with frequency and consistency throughout the life span of your business. Famous for his innovative branding,Doug Turkell, the “Unnoucer” has flourished by creating and marketing his unique brand of voice overs. Just do it already! Butdothink carefully about this one – changing your brand once established can be a bit difficult, though not impossible!

Take classes and workshops in your profession

It will allow you to network with your peers and even better, establish a relationship with an industry “expert”, who can provide you with even more valuable business leads. Taking classes will not only add educational/ training credits to your resume, but will also allow you to establish and assess your “competition”, and strengthen your vision for possible “niche” markets which may not be covered by your peer group.

Make yourself Accountable

Write down your business goals and establish a system of accountability for your business. This will help you develop a clear picture of how you can better market yourself. Spend an allotted time each day working on new contacts – this includes cold calling! Make it a goal to meet someone new in the business everyday!

It’s all about Customer Service!

Go above and beyond for your clients. Give more than they expect – and you will find that they will come back again and again. When I book a job, I usually give at least two finished takes for the client to choose from, even if they are not requested. Since I usually record more than two takes for each spot anyway, it doesn’t add a lot of time to the job on my end, and my clients really appreciate it!

Take care of your existing customers!

The word “Marketing” is often thought to describe advertising activities specific to gaining new business, but keep in mind that enriching and nurturing the relationship of your existing customers can be critical to your business survival. Contact them periodically and let them know you are available for them and keep them abreast of any new projects. Many times during a new business “low”, my repeat clients have come through with flying colors and kept my business booming!

Get Testimonials and Publish them!

When you complete a job, especially when you know the client loved your work, always ask for a testimonial, as well as a copy of the finished product for your demo reel. You can simplify this process by creating a generic “Thank You” template or form email that includes your request so you don’t forget. You’d surprised at how many clients are more than willing to do this for you if you just ask! Let your clients do the marketing for you!

I hope you have found these tips to be helpful and I welcome all comments! Upcoming articles in this series will discuss marketing options for building and marketing your VO business online.

Career Information about Photography

Career information about photography is important to access and focus on initially because it is a competitive market where the work is often attractive to many people. The photographer must have “a good eye”, imagination, and some creativity to do well in this field. That’s not all. Photographers love going into their own business. Accordingly, they must be able to maintain a business and to take advantage of opportunities provided by rapidly changing technologies. While seeking career information about photography you should first speak to one of your local photographers for information. You can ask questions about the job market in your area and how much training was involved before he/she considered themselves ready. You’ll find your local photographer will offer you insight that will be helpful in most cases.What as a photographer do you plan on achieving? Most would agree, the photographer is an artist, historian, and news event person. Perhaps you had already planned on your career and how you wish to achieve it. Career information about photography will prepare you for specific jobs but you should be aware of other elements related to the work. A photographer produces and preserves images that paint a picture, tell a story, or record an event. The successful photographer is required to have the ability to present a subject to achieve a particular effect while also selecting the appropriate equipment. A good photographer may enhance the subject’s appearance with natural or artificial light, shoot the subject from an interesting angle, draw attention to a particular aspect of the subject by blurring the background, or perhaps using different lenses to produce desired levels of detail at various distances.This is just an example of some of the requirements that a good photographer should possess. Career information about photography will vary according to what type of photography interests you. Underwater photography is becoming an exciting field of unexplored areas. Other photographers specialize in areas such as portrait, commercial and industrial, scientific, news, or fine arts photography.Portrait Photographers: The one’s we see most often who usually come with those special family events. They normally take individual pictures, group pictures and often work in their own studios. A lot of photographers specialize in taking wedding pictures, religious ceremonies, or school pictures.Commercial and Industrial: Career information about photography includes professionals who specialize in commercial and industrial photography. These photographers take pictures of various subjects, such as buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, and landscapes. Why would a photographer go around taking these pictures? This is a specialized field wherein a lot of money can be made. The pictures are used in a variety of media, including books, reports, advertisements, and catalogs. The industrial photographer is usually hired in advance and knows what his assignment will be. He does not take pictures and try to find a buyer. The industrial photographer takes pictures of machinery, products, workers, and company officials. The pictures taken are usually for a specific purpose. In the future these pictures help engineer’s analysis projects, publicity, or records of equipment development or deployment, such as placement of an offshore oil rig.Field of Science: Career information about photography is common in the field of science. The recording of scientific data and procedures is often done by a photographer. The field of unusual phenomena or sometimes called ghost hunting uses special type of equipment and is necessary to help prove the existence of perhaps a haunting. Many things evolve when you work in the scientific field that is why a photographer must have knowledge in one or more areas of engineering, medicine, biology, or chemistry.Photojournalism: Photojournalists are people who take pictures of newsworthy people, places, and sporting events. They are news photographers who often cover political and community events for newspapers, journals, magazines, or television.Career information about photography would not be complete unless I reminded you of working conditions. The working conditions vary considerably from one type of a job to another. For instance, photographers who work for the government and advertising studios usually work a 5-day, 40 hour week. News photographers often work long, irregular hours and must be available on short notice. Some photographers work part time or on variable schedules.One last thing – Career information about photography should include the fact that a lot of photographers spend a small amount of time actually taking pictures because they spend a lot of time editing photographs on a computer and trying to find new business especially when they are self-employed.

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