Thursday, June 25, 2009

Build your Voice Over Business by Listening to the Radio!

One of the biggest hurdles many new voice over artists face is getting their demo heard by people who need their services. Read on to find how effectively listening to your radio can accelerate your voice over career!

Radio is one of the most popular ways to promote a product or service. The dynamics between the advertisers, producers and station managers is what keeps the stations on the air. When the advertiser is happy, everyone at the station is happy!

So, how can you fit yourself into this advertiser/ station manager/ producer dynamic? What can you do to showcase your talent if the station isn’t using freelance talent? Don’t give up and write the station off your list of possibilities! You still have a great chance of getting your demo heard, even if the station turns you down.

There is someone that wants to hear your demo! They not only want to hear it, they would be flattered to hear from you! Just who is this person and how can you find them?

That’s easy! You find them on the radio!

Advertisers are very receptive to hearing a new voice to promote their product or service. Listening to your radio is an excellent way to hear what companies are buying ad spots.

Here is how using your radio as a lead source works: Make a point to listen to several different radio stations. Record the commercials that get a lot of air time. Make sure you list which stations aired each commercial, how often it played and pay particular attention to primetime spots. Collect contact information for each of the advertisers. Try to find at least a dozen companies of different products that are within your local area.

Transcribe the commercials to written copy. Try to choose ad spots that are short (around 15 seconds) that you really enjoy hearing and are naturally easy for you to perform.

Once you have your selection of scripts you can use your ProTools software to record each of these scripts into a separate MP3 file. Don’t have ProTools yet? No problem! A good recording software program and a quality microphone will work for now.

Make sure you are comfortable with the copy you choose before you record it. Practice reading each script until you sound relaxed and natural performing it. Remember, you are a new voice promoting their product. It is important they hear your great voice, not one that sounds like their current ad spot.

Now that you have recorded your MP3 files, you have several ways of sending them to the advertisers. The least expensive method is to send the MP3 as an email attached file along with a personalized cover letter. All you need is a brief statement to the advertiser on why you chose them and how you would love the opportunity to promote their product or service. Be sure you include all your contact information. Make sure you keep your statement down to a few sentences in a short paragraph. Gushing over how great a product is considered only a testimonial not a query for work so, keep it sweet and simple.

Your next option is to create a CD to send to each advertiser. Each advertiser will have a dry read of your voice performing their latest commercial, followed by your original studio recorded demo spots. Make sure the dry read is first so, the last spot they hear is your professional recordings. This creates the “before and after” effect of how great you will sound promoting their product in the studio.

Once each individual CD is completed, label the CD with their name and radio ad demo, followed by your name and contact information. Make sure you use a jewel case to protect the CD. You can even create a custom label for the case if you like!

The next step is to get your CD to the advertisers. You can either mail the CD in a padded mailer (with a cover letter) to the attention of the Advertising Department or, you can personally deliver the CD.

If you decide to hand deliver the CD, call ahead and make an appointment. Try to speak with someone who is a decision maker in the process. You might want to take your Walkman with you…you may get to play your demo during the introduction!

Taking the initiative and introducing yourself to the advertiser opens another door in your voice over career. It creates the opportunity for the advertiser to have their own professional voice for their next advertising campaign. Your initial effort gives you the credibility and confidence of the advertiser behind you when you walk into the studio.

The airwaves are full of potential voice over clients and you found them all just by LISTENING to the radio!

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