As a successful voiceover entrepreneur, it's an important part of your business strategy to know and understand the current trends in the market where you are selling your services. This includes researching companies that actively purchase voiceover services as well as studying the advertising techniques that they use to sell their products. This allows you to position yourself in a way where advertisers can A) find you and B) HIRE you. Not necessarily a small task :) but certainly doable if you employ some smart strategies and are diligent!
Google is Your Friend
Just in case you didn't know - I LOVE technology and use it on a daily basis in both my personal and professional life. Sometimes, I am even referred to as Anne Gangoogle - or #eggandgouda for all of those smart devices who can't properly translate my name just yet. :) I’ve always been geeked out by new innovations that can help improve the world. My house is connected to Alexa, we have Arlo security monitoring our porch for Amazon Prime packages, and I coach most all of my students using an amazing audio connection technology called ipDTL. This also makes me an avid Google search enthusiast. Almost everyone online turns to Google for answers; i.e. “restaurants near me” or “what is the best mic for voiceover” or “female voiceover talent.” Use your Google faithfully when researching your genre and market for advertising trends, and make sure to throw in the current year for the latest - try "2019 advertising trends", and to get even more specific for your genre, try "2019 automotive advertising trends". You'll be amazed at what you can learn and put into practice with just a little bit of search effort!
Just as you search for information about your potential market, that market may be searching for you as well. If you want to be found, start thinking about the terms your potential clients are using when searching for voiceover talent. Don’t just use words you know. Think about the keywords buyers might use to search for you. Are they searching for “female commercial voice actor”? Maybe. But they also may be searching for “mature voice for OTT advertising.” Check out Google Trends. This will give you an opportunity to compare keywords you are considering for your website. This platform allows you to easily see the subjects that are attracting attention and helps refine your results. You can then adjust the content on your website once you are clued into those specific keywords. Check out our VO BOSS episode on SEO below for more tips and tricks!
Video is King
The traditional broadcast TV commercial market has somewhat declined with the advancement of new technologies, but don't worry - advertising is still alive and thriving. As a voice actor, there are more opportunities than ever to book work. Entrenpenuer.com, the website based on the popular magazine of the same name, says “as cord-cutting increases and more viewers move toward connected/smart TV and over-the-top (OTT) app viewing -- and away from linear TV viewing -- advertisers are becoming enamored with CTV/OTT advertising.” This means advertisers are looking for new ad models that fit this type of advertising; e.g. revamped campaigns and more campaigns targeted on a very specific audience.
Not only does this mean more streams of work for voice actors, but it also means there are more ways to attract prospective buyers. Think about it as a means to showcase the work you’ve done using video. If you don’t have a YouTube channel for your business yet, now is the perfect time to start one. You can also use Instagram or Facebook stories to highlight accomplishments or to show a more personal side of your brand.
Realer than Real
A recent spin on the popular conversational trend in advertising is UCG, or User-Generated Content, to help bring authenticity to brands. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, an organization that empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy, describes user-generated content as “content that is voluntarily created by individuals that has the potential to spark and/or drive conversation.” For example, one of Match.com’s latest commercials depicts singles talking into a camera like they were holding a phone in front of them making a video for Instagram or Snapchat. More than likely these people are probably actors - and not actually real match.com users. Either way, this method of advertising can be impactful to their target market.
This trend also reinforces those casting specs we see over and over again in our auditions - real person, authentic, conversational. Advertisers use it -because it works. Consumers hate being "sold" to. If you don’t have your conversational read down, then I highly recommend finding a coach that can help you nail this. Consider it a necessary investment in your business - the bonus is that a conversational, authentic read will also work in almost every kind of voice over genre out there - including narration! I teach it to all of my students as a necessary part of an engaging performance.
I mentioned in a recent blog post that most humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Crazy, right? With all of the information out there these days, we now tend to digest our information in little bite-size pieces, like 140 character tweets or short online videos, and then we're on to the next nugget. Advertisers have seen this too and have created ways to try and beat the “skip ad” button or the mouse scroll. Videos called “bumper ads” have been a creative challenge for marketers to tell a brand’s story in only 15 seconds. This also applies to you and your advertising. For voiceover demos, try to put your best, most authentic-sounding read at the very beginning of your demo, as well as front-loading spots that showcase your versatility and range. Assume that only the first 15-20 seconds of your demo will be listened to. The more targeted your demo is, the better. It will allow your buyer to get to the information they are looking for quickly. I also recommend using a demo player on your website that can visually show all the different spots on your reel to allow your potential buyer to selectively listen to a spot they are interested in. I use multiple demo players on my websites that do this. Below is a screenshot of my commercial demo using the VoiceZam player (Full disclosure - I am an affiliate because I love the functionality of this player) Users can listen the whole way through or they can jump to whichever spot they want.
2020 and Beyond
It's difficult to predict what the future holds when it comes to advertising, so make it one of your business goals to dedicate time to stay on top of things. Subscribe to magazines like Ad Week or Ad Age, read marketing and advertising books, listen to marketing and advertising podcasts (like VO BOSS!), and follow top names in the industry like Gary Vee and Seth Godin. Trends mean a shift or development--an evolution. Be willing to stay flexible and evolve too, and your business will thank you for it!
What new advertising trends have you seen in this industry? Feel free to comment below, or schedule a chat with me to discuss!
Keep on rockin' your biz,
About the Author: Anne Ganguzza is a full-time voice talent and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voice over and business skills - including VO demo training and production. She specializes in Conversational Commercial and Narration styles, including Corporate, E-Learning, Technology, Healthcare - Medical, Telephony, and On-Hold. Located in Orange County, CA, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students in person and via Skype, ipDTL or Zoom.