What does a voice over artist do?
That looks like a really simple question doesn’t it?
One answer might be that voiceover artists record their voices for diverse projects from commercials, to corporate presentations, and voicemail greetings to video games. These days they also need to be able to edit the audio they record, and like any small business owner they also need to be good at marketing, social media, finance, planning etc etc.
But my question really isn’t about what voice actors physically do day to day, but what is it they do for their clients? What is it they are selling?
I was asked this question by a business coach from ActionCoach last week and it got me thinking.
I know I’ve mentioned this before but I think it’s worth saying again, that when we are selling a product or a service to a client, it’s not the cost of it that is important – it’s the (perceived) value – and this is something that has being drummed in to me over the last couple of weeks by a marketing coach (Anton Oliver at Headsmart Marketing Academy).
So the question is – what VALUE do voice over artists provide their clients?
The answer to that depends partly on the project…
Let’s take a voicemail greeting for example. Anyone can record one of those – it doesn’t need a voice over artist – or does it?
Well, a voicemail greeting might be the first impression a potential client gets of a business. Let’s say the business owner really detests hearing the sound of his own voice so he HATES having to record his voicemail greeting, and does it very grudgingly. Well guess what? That comes across in his voice! So, the first impression a potential client gets of his business is someone who sounds nervous and unsure – is that the impression he wants to give? Probably not!
If he decides to have a professional voice over artist record his message, what is the value of that? Well, first of all it saves him the pain of recording himself, and it improves his clients’ experience of calling the office (because they now have a nice voice to listen to). It gives a much better impression of his business because it now sounds more professional – fewer customers will hang up, and maybe because his clients now perceive his business as being more professional, he can charge higher prices!
And the value of all that is way more than the actual cost of it.
Or how about an e-learning course? Let’s imagine that a business owner needs all her staff to go through some health and safety training. She hasn’t got time to stand up in front of each team and train them in person, so she creates a PowerPoint presentation and she records some audio onto the slides. However, she doesn’t have a quiet environment in which to record, so there are dogs barking and noisy children in the background. She also doesn’t have the most engaging delivery style so the staff are inwardly groaning every time they have to endure one of these presentations….They don’t really pay attention, they treat it as a tick box exercise, and they don’t take on board the information. This could lead to an accident and that could be VERY expensive for the company to deal with.
If instead the business owner hires a professional to record the presentation, she will get clean audio with no background noise, and an engaging voice that can lift the script off the page and make it interesting to listen to. The staff will pay attention and not fall asleep, they will take in the information, and as a result they will work more safely and avoid accidents – ultimately saving the company money.
Once again the VALUE of this far outweighs the cost.
Now the question becomes not about whether a company can afford to hire a voice over artist – but can they afford not to!