Thursday, October 08, 2009

'Your Online Brand': Traditional Voice Over Experience May Not Be Enough

The term 'brand' refers to the image, feel, and idea of your online product, in this case, your voice over abilities. Quite often at Voice123, I have seen amazingly skilled voice over talent from the traditional offline market struggle to make the leap to online casting. Many usually start by selling themselves based on their experience, first. Unfortunately, as much as I hate to admit it, the belief that just stating you are experienced is not definitive enough of your 'brand'.

In the two years I have been behind the scenes at Voice123, combined with the two additional years of using online casting, only after leaving the traditional offline method of the voice over industry, I have come to learn just how the original 'you', your voice product, and how you use it in the present defines a person's 'brand'.

The statement can be highly unsettling for those with great experience in the traditional market. However, the online voice over casting industry is a completely new market and way of doing business, and it is less than six years old. Compared to traditional markets, it is still just a child.

Hear me out on this because I made a mistake while a voice talent on Voice123 by believing I could transfer all I learned while 'pounding pavement', and simply apply it to online casting. I was wrong. This information will prove valuable to any voice talent.

There are five steps to building an 'online brand':
  1. Get noticed by being the 'positive' you, and only 'the positive you'. Avoid negativity.
  2. Be 'down to earth' while working online, understanding online casting is still new for many people auditioning and hiring.
  3. Build trust and relationships with those you come in contact with always by having a brand that is truthful to your ability.
  4. Get to know yourself, and describe what it is you actually do with your voice. Listing experience is not a description of what you do. It is a record of what you once did.
  5. Display flexibility when dealing with people online, and know how far you are willing to stretch.

Why is this helpful for voice over casting online? A key factor in understanding exactly 'how the mindset of the Internet works', in my opinion, can be summed up simply as:

'The Internet belongs to everyone. No one owns it.'
  • When something is shared by everyone, you can never display that you feel you are above someone else. It will turn people off to you, and you want people to trust you. Trust is the one ingredient in the online world that has to be proven time and time again. This is merely a psychological effect of trying to work with people you cannot see. The Internet carries that burden of proof, always, simply because it is so easy to lie on the Internet.
  • Therefore, telling someone, 'I have 30 years experience.', carries little weight because online casting for voice overs is just a six year old playground. It requires building trust and learning a new method of doing business all over again before the experience can be used to shape the future of online casting.
  • Finally, keep an open mind about what people think. With the entire world watching and listening, and with so many opinions, not everyone will think you are great, no matter where you come from or what you have done, and that is normal.
Is this bad? No, not at all. The Internet, social media, etc. allows for everyone to market themselves, create a community, and all with a much more cost-effective price than in years before working online. Also, given that the 'Internet belongs to everyone', people will be allowed to either pass or fail on their own, as their own business, quicker than before.

Always be your best original 'you'!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
My Blog
Twitter: @voice123dotcom


Anonymous said...

Thanks Steven, for reminding me not to take myself too seriously. Yes, even though some of us have quite a lot of traditional experience, a lot of us have no internet experience, so it's always a learning thing...which keeps us in shape, right?

Robert Pike Daniel said...

Thanks, Steven. Good, sound advice.

Gary W. Richards said...

YIKES Steven! I thought you were speaking ONLY to me. Whew! LOL

Your words are true.. AND no where else does one compete with so many other talented people than online.

I have a GREAT score and I'm in the top 10 percentile on Voice123... but that doesn't mean you'll get the job!

BRAND!? I'm off to ponder that Hmmmmmmm...


Kymberly Dakin said...

Hey Steven; I guess no matter how much I get what you are saying - it's still a pretty weighty concept to wrestle with - that EXPERIENCE just doesn't count all that much right now, with such a newly driven market, and so many people in it! But I also understand your advice to really stay true to who you are as a "voice" and that may be the Gift that Experience brings. I find that I am having much better ratings, and a more positive response - to the healthcare campaigns that come thru V123. I feel very strongly about the issue politically, but I also find that the copy is just more appealing...maybe because it taps into my authentic voice.

si hawk said...

I just wanted to leave a short note of thanks. I've been doing voice overs for nearly 40 years now and this new medium seemed like just the ticket. When I signed up for Voice123 I never realized what a big part your system plays in the modern world of voice overs. Within my first month of membership I made contacts that have come back through the year and easily paid for my membership costs. Twenty-first century voice work is a new animal and with the SmartCast system in hand this old voice feels right at home! Thanks Voice123. The ride is great!
si hawk