- Where do I start?
Well, the fact that you’re here is a good sign! You’re taking the time to learn and not a lot of people arm themselves with knowledge before diving in.
First of all, be careful and take your time. Resist the temptation to hire the first VO talent you hear and like. Not every talent specializes in Voice Imaging.
Your first concern in choosing a talent is experience. Regardless of the rate you’re getting, your voice imaging person should have a solid background in writing, producing and engineering audio for Radio and Television.
Don’t be fooled by people who merely have a nice voice.
In reality, you are moving into the realm of full-scale advertising – virtually identical to Radio and Television. There is a lot of voice talent that don’t have this kind of creative knowledge and that can make your production sound, well…..kinda cheap 🙁
Good studio gear is another issue – how does the audio sound? The best thing that you can do is insist on an audition.
If your talent doesn’t have the experience, then they should have an in-house producer who engineers their recordings and oversees creative production.
- What is a ``Producer?``
Selecting the right producer is also important when considering VO talent for your brand or website audio project. A producer is someone who looks at the “Big Picture” of what you want and executes the plan.
Right now, your producer is probably your website designer, which doesn’t always mean he/she is best for the job. Sure, your website designer knows graphics, code and SEO……but do they know how to mix audio with sound effects and discern a bad voice over script from a good one?
Ideally, your producer should be your Voice Imaging person (voice talent), otherwise things can get complicated and expensive.
- One voice on many sites.
I’ve had this question on my site for a few years now. For a long time it wasn’t important. Today, it’s very relevant……..
On the one hand, if a person is voicing a lot of sites, that could mean they have an appealing sound, are providing good service and running a proper studio, thus providing quality audio to their customers.
On the “No” side of things, they may be charging next to nothing to do the work – and you get what you pay for.
Sure, 10 bucks may look good to you now, but what happens when they start voicing for your competitor? In some cases, (as in Radio and Television Imaging) the more the clients, the better the chance your service can suffer.
Too much work for a voiceover person can make for slow script turnover, slack reads and an overall bored, uninterested imaging voice – especially if your site requires constant updating.
Just because a guy/gal has a ton of clients doesn’t always mean they are exceptionally good or will provide you with great service. Plus, their voice is going to be heard all over the place and maybe you’d like someone who is a little more exclusive.
If you are going to hire someone who voices a lot of sites, check to see if their clients are going to “conflict” with your business IE: your site is an exclusive collector’s toy store and your voice over talent is doing work for Toys R Us.
- Should I ask for an audition?
Yes. Auditioning your imaging voice is critical. Have a listen to your voice talent with your creative production standards, style and sound.
Sure, their demo sounds great, but you won’t get a true sound until you produce and direct the product yourself. Any good talent will audition script for free.
Also, determine the range of the voice you are hiring. Does he/she have a broad range, giving you creative writing and production flexibilty?
This is often overlooked.
People fall in love with the deep thundering tones, only to find that’s ALL they get. One read, one style, no character voices – just one voice and the person can’t take direction either.
Remember, you are paying for this voice over talent and therefore, you are entitled to be able to use the audio for everything – promotional ads of various styles, narration, a funny character and other funny/creative bits and “bites”.
Try to get more bang for your buck. Your audition scripts should reflect the kind of range you want for your site: Warm, Hot, Gritty, Quirky, Character, Corporate, Formal, “Guy Next Door”, Narrative, etc.
- What about rates?
Generally speaking, the less the voice talent is charging, the cheaper the product. You get what you pay for.
I’ve heard some really pathetic voiceovers on Websites and no amount of snazzy graphics could make up for a flat voice over talent, that sounds like he/she is simply reading.
It can get ugly.
Remember the person you hire is speaking for your brand…your company!
The voice-over talent should have good quality recording equipment, an audio engineering background and a minimum 5 years professional voiceover experience.
By professional, I mean they do the work “full time” (Translation: It’s not a hobby….) have a professional website – not just a listing on a voice talent P2P website – along with a National and International client list.
If you want someone to voice a welcome greeting and a few other lines and phrases, then get your script and word count ready and ask for a voiceover quote
IE: “I need 2 min of audio voiced for my small website, what’s your fee?”
If you have a large site with a few pages of script and you want to make changes all the time, I’d recommend putting your voice on retainer. For a flat monthly fee, you get virtually unlimited access to a voice.
In summary, look at the experience, get an audition, ask for a quote and compare. Shop around.
I think you’ll find that you’ll want to pay slightly more for someone with more experience and a better overall sound.