Voiceovers – Why attracting clients to your voice over business, involves trying out a few different marketing strategies?

In recent years many new and experienced voice over artists would have noticed the explosion of Freelance and P2P (Pay-2-Play) sites popping up on the internet. Whilst the camp remains divided on the value of such sites, I for one can say that they have played a beneficial role in the development of my own voice over business.  I developed some useful clients, that have turned into repeat  business. However, there are many other voice over artists who have developed very lucrative voice over businesses without using such sites.

Looking at my own marketing strategy, I have tried a variety of methods. Most recently I tried ‘cold-calling’, yes doing some research on a prospective business,  picking up the phone and exploring how I could ‘add value’ to a local company, who in this instance specialised in animation. Well, initially I met the owner informally over a cup of coffee and during the first two meetings we just got to know one another and it was only during the third meeting that we talked ‘business’ and even then I just listened to him talk passionately about his own business. By the time we met again, he mentioned that he had been commissioned by a local organisation, to lead on developing a health related animation project, which also required several voice over artists. He mentioned whether I was interested in the narrator role. As you can imagine, I was very pleased at not only getting the part, but also collaborating with a new client, without having to go through the ‘traditional’ competitive audition process. So, what had I learnt from this process? Well, firstly that, ‘cold-calling can work, but it requires a planned approach. Secondly, building and nurturing trust with a potential new client requires patience, understanding, a willingness to listen, whilst adopting a non-intrusive approach.

Another creative approach that I recently adopted, was keeping in touch with previous work colleagues. For many years, I had previously  in the charity sector and I remember my Mother mentioning to me to always, try and maintain ‘good relationships’ where possible.  My Mother was right, because my ex-boss, contacted me to discuss a conference that he was organising later in the year. During our conversations,  he mentioned that it was going to be a conference with an opening video. That is when I suggested that I could  narrate part of the opening video as delegates entered the event. I devised a 2 minute script, added the background music/sound effects and provided two draft revisions. As a result of the success of this collaborative process, he informed that there potentially would be further opportunities to use my voice over skills in the near future.

All this goes to show that when you are figuring out what marketing strategy to use, remember, some may be more effective than others .The key as many other voice over artists will tell you, is to firstly to have a clear plan of which social media platform you intend to use, implement it, then evaluate its impact on your voice-over business, before moving onto another. By doing it this way, I believe you are not only learning a new skill, but also gaining further insight into what works and what does not for your own  voice over business. Equally, with Freelance and P2P sites you will hear some voice over artists, complaining that some are not as effective as others and again as a voice over artist, you have choices and decisions to make that are for the development of your own business. I did and have stayed with a few P2P sites over the years, however, alongside this, I also focused my time, by developing direct links with prospective leads through email marketing and attending networking events.

In the end it goes back to my original question, Why attracting clients to your voice over business, involves trying out a few different marketing strategies? The answer is, it really does involve trying out and evaluating what works for you and your voice-over business. I would also add that maybe its worth going out of your ‘comfort zone.’ otherwise how will your voiceover business grow, if you keep on doing the same old same old?!!

Why its important to develop your niche as a voice over artist

When I started doing voice over work over 15 years ago, I remember trying out so many different genres of voice over, including, radio commercials, jingles, corporate, TV commercials, gaming and short films.

I also kept  telling myself to  ‘have a go at doing that radio drama audition’.  It was partly to try out whether I would get it and actually to also take myself out of a comfort zone of that we as voice over artists can easily fall into.

Then I realised when looking at my voice over CV, I know some of you might be saying a CV? well it actually helped me to evaluate where I was getting more of my voice work and also where I should focus my niche as a professional voice over artist.

Interestingly I began to notice that I was getting less and less gaming auditions, but more e-learning, corporate and commercial voice over work. Also I was getting more requests for specific African-English voice over work. So I decided to develop a  strategy, which focused on marketing my services to companies within this genres and I would say that over the past 5 years, not only has more voice over work, increased as a result of ‘honing’ in on specific areas of voice work, but globally this has been the case too, with more clients specifically requesting more accented voice work especially African-English, RP and Jamaican-Patois.

So it is important to focus your efforts as you gain more experience on niche areas that bring out your uniqueness as a voice actor,  especially as we now tend to operate in a highly competitive marketplace and being known for specialising in particular genres of voice work, could also lead to more repeat work and clients that respect and value you for the specialist talents that you possess.

Voiceovers – Is accent ability a relevant skills to have as voice over artists?

Recently, I did a review of some of my voice jobs that I had done over the past few months and I began to notice a bit of a pattern emerging. Interestingly, most of the roles, included an ability to ‘drop’ an accent and do so convincingly. These included Cockney, South African, Neutral, Received Pronunciation (RP) and ‘International’ (British).  I along with many other UK based voice over artists, are now operating in a global market and there is even a greater appetite from clients to use voice actors, who possess strong accent ability. You only have to look at genres such as gaming and animation, where there is an expectation that you are skilled in voicing several different characters and do them with consummate ease.

I have personally had to do this myself a few years ago for an online character video, where I had to voice three different accents English, French and Australian for the performance.  On my own accent reel, I have  Cockney, Nigerian, Russian and Jamaican Patois. This versatility came in very handy for one of my most recent clients in the Dominica Republic, who had listened to the reel and her client immediately wanted me to record a radio commercial for a global brand in Jamaican Patois, that was then aired across Trinidad and Tobago!!! I believe that having been brought up in the UK and growing up in a variety of culturally diverse communities in Nottingham as well as attending the University of Manchester, where 95% of all the students on my course at the time,  were from over 15 different countries, helped shape my ability to deliver a diversity of accents as a voice actor today.

So the answer to the question of whether accent ability is a relevant skill? Is yes I believe it is, as the demand for different accents grows, more actors like myself will also need to keep developing and building on our repertoire., in order to remain relevant and marketable. Also at the end of the day, doing accents is  also about having a bit of fun, challenging ourselves and growing as actors, surely that can only be a good thing.

Voiceovers – Why have I not struggled to develop a global presence and yet locally it has been a battle?

Ever  since  I started on this journey of becoming a voice actor, I always had a feeling that my voice would be heard on a global level. I recalled that after developing my demo reels for the corporate, commercial and e-learning markets, I decided to market my services within the UK market and interestingly, I got the odd voice over job, but nothing that I would consider of real value. Even though I had managed to get voice over agents in London, often I would be emailing or ringing the agents that I had at the time and telling them about the jobs that I had found and the response would be ‘well I am not sure why your not getting work Kenny, because you are clearly talented enough for the UK market’.  At this point, I decided that I had to re-focus my efforts and try promoting my voice outside of the UK and interestingly, one of my very first international clients from India, found me via LinkedIn. This lead to 5 years of repeat e-learning voice over work. At the same time, being of African origin,  I also decided to develop a culturally specific African-English demo reel, that led to corporate work for clients in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Libya and Morocco.  Further work on the back of my e-learning and corporate reel led to developing clients in India, Switzerland, Spain, USA Canada and Dubai.  My efforts in developing more of a global footprint, have resulted in formulating a deeper understanding of  the cultural differences of each of the markets. Contrast this with the UK, where it has been a struggle to  establish my presence, but as my voice coach pointed out ‘sometimes you have to go where you will feel more valued’ and if that means developing more of a global presence, then I will continue to do so, whilst continuing on some level, to develop links, networks and ultimately clients within the UK.


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Voiceovers – How can internship graduates enhance your voice over business?

I remember having a meeting about 2 years ago with my business mentor and he mentioned that an aspect to consider when growing my business, was to develop external partnerships. As a result of that discussion, I decided to develop a strategy for targeting local universities, in order to identify what internship graduate schemes, that I could participate in. It turned out that one university in the East Midlands, ran a 6 week graduate internship programme, that involved having an intern with your business for 18.5 hours per week. I thought that this would benefit my voice over business, by providing an external perspective to an aspect of my business that I had neglected. At the time, this was to develop part of my social media strategy. After interviewing the graduate I clearly observed that not only did they grasp very quickly the nature of my business, but also brought ideas that I had not even considered, which was a breath of fresh air!!!

Due to the success of that initial internship, I have since gone back to hire another intern, to build on my social media strategy and the enthusiasm that the intern has already demonstrated, during our conversations and face to face meetings, means that I have not only benefited from having graduates that will enhance my business, but also developed an invaluable partnership with a global focused institution. So for those voice actors, who may not have considered partnering with a local college or University, I urge you to consider this as an option, given the limitations of time that we all have, when trying to balance the various aspects of running a voice over business.

Tell me about your project

CALL ME ON +44 (0) 7903582 656

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