Updated: Sep 27
Medical narration is something most voiceover artists either love - or fear - greatly. However the more you learn about it, the more you’ll find out how rewarding it can be. Now, perhaps more than ever, your voice can provide comfort and guidance when medical assistance is needed. Whether providing a source of vital information, a sense of community, or entertainment, your voice can act as a lifeline for those affected all over the globe. If you typically shy away from medical narration, I promise you - it’s not as bad as you think! Personally, the more syllables a word has, the more geeky excited I get! :) It is something I do quite frequently and am passionate about.
Medical narration generates a lot of interest in the voice over industry, and for good reason. The medical industry in the United States is HUGE, worth about 3 trillion dollars and estimated to go up to 5.6 trillion by 2024. A significant aspect of the industry involves communications and education among health care professionals and industries. One of the most effective forms of communication has become video and podcasts.
Being a voice over artist means having a lot of different types of work to choose from. It can be daunting at first because there are so many potential avenues to follow that you might not know where to start (or what to specialize in if that’s something you want to do). Getting into medical narration could be a very strategic move for your business. But what markets in this industry are biting, and exactly what does it take to get noticed?
Types of medical narrations
The pharmaceutical industry is a huge market within the medical industry worth about 500 billion dollars. They spend billions on advertising, therefore voiceover is lucrative. There is a high demand for medical narrations in the pharmaceutical industry as they commonly need explainer videos for new drugs, new drug indications, as well as programs that train pharmaceutical sales reps on how to communicate with the health care professionals they meet. More common topics covered in pharmaceutical narrations include competitor landscapes (what else is out there in the market), patient journeys, and clinical trials (results). Researchers themselves sometimes make videos explaining their research for participants in clinical trials before they decide whether or not to go in.
The medical device market in the United States is the largest in the world, worth 147 billion and increasing. The types of narrations in the medical device market are typically instructions or manuals which can be up to 10 hours long. For example, how to operate a machine to deliver targeted radiation for chemotherapy.
Continuing medical education
This includes medical schools, elearning, and associations that have educational content that would use your voice. For most health care professionals, learning about the profession is an ongoing process. Health care professionals need to study new material on a regular basis be it due to new studies that have been published, or new techniques that have been validated. Sometimes these refreshers are required federally or by the state. Often, HCPs simply consider it good practice. So, HCPs are essentially always studying and always learning. A convenient and increasingly popular way to transmit this new information is via elearning. It is cost effective for the HCPs and it creates a high demand for voice over artists who are able to do medical narrations. An example might be an instructional video on surgical procedures including novel techniques such as telerobotic surgery which allows the surgeon to operate from a remote site. Another application could be VO for virtual or augmented reality (VR-AR) enhanced lessons.
Medical animation is often part of a program in explaining something to an HCP, pharmaceutical sales rep, or student of continuing medical education, or it could be stand-alone. Medical animations may be posted on hospital or government websites and often show what can’t be revealed (or even realistically filmed) in video such as what is going on at a cellular or enzymatic level. They might also show how things travel through the body or how surgery is performed.
How to sell your voice over services to the medical narration market
Once you’ve sussed out what types of medical narrations are out there and what you might be interested in pursuing, you need to figure out how to go out and get those clients! The best approach to take here is to first figure out who your buyer is (who you are selling to).
They might be a hospital, an organization, a school, etc. Realize that these are not your typical talent agents/companies. You need to market to them in different ways than you may be used to. Generally speaking, they are a very different buyer. You need to be able to know who they are, reach them, and speak their language. Speaking their language involves being articulate and professional, and it doesn’t hurt to be comfortable with some medical jargon.
A useful way to approach this is to conduct some research of your own on top medical companies and hospitals. Watch medical videos on their web page or youtube channel to start acclimating and getting comfortable with the language and pronunciation. A good medical narrator needs to be commanding of the terminology and know how to sound like an authority in the field. Practice is key and a good coach can really help you with the techniques necessary to accomplish this. Of course a great demo helps too!
Medical narration is not for the faint of heart, but it is something that I truly love to do. If you know how to navigate it can be very rewarding and might be something you can become geekily passionate about too! Feel free to comment below or contact me if I can help!
Much love and 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.