At one point most businesses will type “need voice over professional” into Google. Odds are that they learned the hard way how using the low-voiced employee to do their voicemail outgoing message was perhaps too simple an approach. Mind you, I’m sure the guy has a very nice voice. But in voice over, how to use it is the key.
Indeed, there are over 100,000 people on the web who want to sell you their voice over services. Out of that number, maybe 1000 can actually deliver the goods on a par with national TV advertising. The art of voice over is simply not that simple!
#1: Voice Mail Let’s start with the basics. A voice over professional will know how to set the right pace and feel for your IVR, on-hold and voicemail greetings. It needs to reflect the feel of your business, be understandable and, most importantly, engaging. Having one of your employees do it will work on a perfunctory level, but it won’t elevate you to the same level or higher than your competitors.
#2: Web Presentations Many times businesses will let whomever their media production guy is do any narration required. Sometimes because they forget that Hollywood caliber talent is available online – right now! Sometimes because they think the price is beyond them. Well, you can have a professional announcer for a reasonable fee for your project quite easily. Having top-notch voice talent perform all your internet based media gives you that leading edge your corporate identity needs.
#3: Radio Commercials Many businesses think that having the owner just “talk to the people” will instill a community-minded notion in the listener’s head and ears. Unless said business owner is a very persuasive speaker, it’ll have a different effect – the listener tunes out. Why? Because we listen to music on the radio or dynamic talk-show hosts. If there isn’t any music or a certain level of interesting dynamics to the voice, it’s just background noise. And in small markets the air waves are full of non-professional announcers. Hire a pro and you have just graduated to the Big Boys & Girls level. (Also, beware of using DJs as they tend to be somewhat inauthentic when reading prepared scripts. Their talent is with the impromptu.)
#4: Television Commercials Okay. Your company has just pulled together a budget for their first television commercial. Good times! Ah, but wait… There isn’t a line item for voice over! And, unless you specifically know you will not need a voice over, you better put it in the budget. Nothing can rip the professional sheen off a tv spot quicker than a bad, amateurish voice over! Hire a pro!
#5: Narration Long form narration is the hardest kind of voice over. To have a non-professional talk on and on for ten minutes is just plain cruel to your audience! Have a heart and hire a voice over talent. They are trained to speak in a way that elucidates and intrigues – not just dole out information. And don’t worry, rates for narration can sometimes be cheaper per word than commercials.
#6: Imaging/Promos If you happen to be someone who works in the niche category, such as radio imaging or TV promos, then hiring a voice over pro is a no-brainer. But, just in case you’re reading this and needed the reminder – here it is! (And no offense meant regarding that “no brainer” comment.)
#7: Recording Studio Another big perk to hiring a voice over professional online is that you don’t have to pay for a recording studio. That alone cuts your costs in half! You now can get a Hollywood level voice over, performed on state-of-the-art sound recording equipment, delivered right to your email! Not a bad deal.
#8: Copywriting Sometimes you may need the help of a writer to flesh out your script – or just create it from the start. You could look online for a freelance copywriter, but you’ll see millions – literally! But a good voice over artist will have the name, number and website of a trusted copywriter. That right there will save you hours or even days of trial and error. However, be careful with voice over talent who also offer copywriting services. If they have the time to write all their client’s scripts in addition to recording the voice over, then they aren’t fully focused on the task at hand… And there may also be a reason they have enough time to do all those things.
#9: Advertising Agency Bypass If you’re a big corporation with big advertising ideas, then you definitely want to go with an advertising agency (The Martin Agency, Gail & Rice, DDB, etc.). Even if you’re a smaller company, but have the money and time, an advertising agency is the way to go. But if you’re working with a 24 hour deadline or have a limited budget, then you just need to go directly to the horse’s mouth, er voice over talent’s website. This kind of “in a pinch” delivery is really only available when you hire a voice over actor directly.
#10: Voice Over Sizzle But arguably the best part of hiring a voice over professional is the sizzle cachet they come with. True pros will be known for many of their national campaigns and signature style.