Build It and They WON’T Come. 5 steps to Voice Over Promotion

baseball field and mic

Don’t wait for them to come… promote your voice over skills

We all remember the line from Field of Dreams.  Kevin Costner kept hearing a voice in his head that said “build it, he will come”.  If you’re interested in being a voice over artist you have to, indeed, build it.  Establishing a firm base in voice over includes getting solid instruction.  Learn what you’ve mastered and what you need to work on.  Always keep improving.

It also means getting the technical equipment and knowledge necessary to compete in this 21st century cyberworld. Learn to record at home and ship your audio files to anyone in the world in any format.

But unlike the figure in Field of Dreams, you can build this correct foundation–but they WON’T come.  The missing ingredient is PROMOTION.  Here are five steps to follow to promote your skills.

Join an Online Casting Website

Everyone knows I am in favor of using Online Casting sites, often referred to as Pay-toPlay or P2P sites.  The two biggies are voices.com and voice123.com. These sites supply you with daily auditions that fit your profile.  These are real ad agencies or production companies with real jobs and real budgets.

Plus the jobs are “non-critical”– you don’t have to be Morgan Freeman or Julia Roberts to please the client.  So you can earn while you learn and improve with each audition or job experience.  You have to be a paid member to receive the benefits but the annual fee can be paid with one or two jobs so join one, make some money and then join the other.

Direct Marketing to find Local Clients

Many of your potential clients, such as ad agencies and video production companies, don’t want to work with talent over the internet and in a different time zone.  So you can also find work locally.  It takes some extra effort to find these clients but they will often work with you for years.

Search for advertising  agencies and video production services in yp.com that are in your city or state.  Go to the potential client’s site and message them about your skills and availability.

Start a Voice Over Newsletter

As you build a list clients from jobs you’ve done or direct contacts add them to a mailing list for your newsletter.  Then mail to your list every few weeks with updates of you voice over accomplishments.  Include links to your demo where readers can listen to and download them.

Two services that make a newsletter simple are Constant Contact and Mail Chimp.  You can manage your list and there are templates to create very professional designs.  And Mail Chimp is free if you list is less that 2000 subscribers.  And if you have more than 2000 subscribers…

Your Own Voice Over Website

Actually you only need a webpage.  Stay away from services that “design your site for free”  because you’ll pay them a fortune per month to host the site.   Get your own domain name like YourNameVoiceOver and you’ll be line on on Google if someone searches for you.

Put you demos up at the top and have a way for prospective clients to play them and download them.  Here’s more on voice over websites.

Talk It Up!

C’mon!  You talk for a living!  So tell your friends, relatives, business associates, etc. that you do voice overs.  If you’re worried about moonlighting, make it sound like a serious hobby.  Oh, and then put all those folks on your newsletter list.

Promote and They WILL Come

Saint Paul said, “how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”  You are the preacher of your own voice over career.  Shout this good news from the rooftops to everyone.  They are waiting to hear your voice!

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And Keep Talking!

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3 Responses to Build It and They WON’T Come. 5 steps to Voice Over Promotion

  1. Great ideas, I also found a number of great listings of companies using yelp.com. Thanks for sharing!

  2. William,

    LOVE you list, but I sure wish you had place a caveat in your paragraph about #1. You’d have to live in a cave not to know about the underhanded business practices going on in the P2P’s. So sure, build your business as a newbie with the online casting sites, but be sure to stand up and be counted when the community seeks your support in calling them on the carpet.
    They make plenty of money off our backs WITHOUT double- triple- or even quadruple-dipping in our pocketbooks.

    Best,

    Dave Courvoisier

    • Dave,
      I get a lot of room echo when I record in this cave!

      I consider the pay-to-play (P2P) sites to be the “farm teams” or “minor leagues” of voice over (I guess I’m accidentally continuing my baseball metaphor). It’s a great place to practice real copy from real ad agencies and production houses. And learn to audition for, record, edit and upload voice over jobs and thus hit any “curveball” a client might throw at you. I’m in L.A. and any newbie would be a fool to pursue an agent here without that experience. I imagine that’s true across the country. And I’ll continue to say, if you don’t think you can earn back the $400 yearly fee, well…

      As for their business models:

      Near as I can tell, voice123.com only charges the annual membership fee. After that you work directly with the client, for better or for worse.

      Ahem… voices.com though… Lets see… There’s the membership fee, the 10% Surepay commission, obviously some payment to the employees who secure “voices” sponsored jobs and the dreadful $2500 platinum membership that pushes the other paid members way down in the search results (oh, you want a laugh? enter “african american” in the search for talent box and click “search”…).

      I believe voices.com absorbs client credit card payment fees and the member paypal payment fees from their 10% so that seems reasonable. Non-union agent commissions in L.A. are 20% in comparison.

      So my final thought: P2P is one simple way to market voice over services. The talent can turn down any opportunity or bid any amount they think they are worth for any job. Success and compensation will be determined by talent, skill and the marketplace.

      Thanks for your always welcome insight!

      William Williams

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