Business Basics for Voiceover Artists: Voiceover and Communication

This is the first of a series of articles about the business aspects of working as a professional voiceover artist.
Firstly I am assuming that you are in business and voiceover is more than just a hobby to you.  It’s important to get into the professional mindset – as it will subconsciously influence your manner of communications and it will give you credibility both in your mind and more importantly in the minds of others.

So you’ve set yourself up in business as a voiceover artist/ talent / actor whichever term you prefer  – now what!  The voiceover business is no different to any other online or offline business.  All need to be concerned and involved with marketing, sales, finance, administration, branding, web and so on and  so on.  Auditioning is a process that’s really no different to a construction company, for example, tendering for a building project.  The key for any business is closing the deal, making the sale, getting your voice chosen for that project!  In all these situations, communication is critical and can mean the difference between getting cast or not. 

In the on-line world how you communicate and the way you present yourself through these communications, especially through the medium of email is really important.  

Firstly speed of response – so a company has found your website, listened to your online demos and likes what they hear.  They send you an email requesting further information, may be a quote or request for your rate card.  They hit send and then what.  Put yourself in their shoes.  This may be the first time they have ever outsourced a project before.  They’ve not met you in person before all they know of you is your online presence.  They want to know are you still in business?  A clue to that is whether they see that your website gets updated regularly. –– maybe you have a last updated date on your website to show visitors? They also need to know has their email got through to you – one possibility is to set up an auto response on your email program.  Include a message thanking them for their interest and that you’ll be in touch ASAP. That gives them the reassurance that the email has got
through and to the right person!  Once they know you actually exist and their email has arrived they will be waiting for your response.  Again a prompt response is really appreciated.  Although not so prompt that you forget to include all the information they’re after!  

Make sure the manner of your response is professional but also in-keeping with your own branding – does your VOICE come through your writing? And also consider the company that you are corresponding to – for example my voice is often used for corporate training narration’s and therefore the branding of my voice leans towards the straight-forward, matter of fact, authoritative edge,  and the companies that contact me tend to reflect this, they lean towards a more corporate, conservative structure so they appreciate a correspondence style that is similar to their own.  Whereas if your signature voice is more laid-back and relaxed in nature, maybe your communications should reflect this more. Obviously there is a balancing act to follow, it’s just something to keep in mind – Don’t get too casual or they may not take you as a serious professional and worst case scenario,  try to beat your rates down, but on the other hand don’t be so formal as to alienate people.

Remember people want to do business with people they like and people they like are like them!    You want to create relationships with clients and maintain them so they keep coming back for more.  Whichever style you correspond, the key is to persuade this company that they want to work with You and your voice.  They need to feel, and you need to make them feel that they are in the best of hands.  That they can trust you to deliver what they’re after.  Not just in terms of interpreting the copy but the delivery of the audio file in the format they need, in the timescale you’ve promised, in the budget you’ve set.

Again, if this is the first time they have worked with a Voiceover artist, through your email communications, you need to hold their hand and walk them through the process so it’s as painless as possible.  Believe me it is really appreciated by your clients.  And hopefully if you deliver all that you promise, in a manner they relate to they will not only use your voice again but also recommend you to other business associates.