This is a blog describing what we have seen as the most common mistake voice actors are making with websites
Turn back the clock about 20 years to a time when voice actors heard stories of people, who did devilishly clever things to get “noticed”, and spoke of stories of success surrounding the clever marketing involved. Maybe they cheated a little here or lied a little bit to that special person, but because the focus was more on getting attention there was little focus on whether or not it actually worked.
Websites, data, Google Analytics, and the ability to literally track everything online changed the game for voice actors. Their great skill of “getting attention” does not mean as much anymore compared to “measuring conversions” or calculating whether or not efforts lead to return of investment.
However, there is still a root issue to the most common mistake voice actors make with websites, which includes their own or the profiles they create to display a demo.
The Most Common Mistake Voice Actors Make?
“Forgetting that the person on the other end of the computer is a human being looking to connect with another human being to work.”
How does this mistake often occur? By doing too much to get attention, while not focusing on what will actually turn into voice-over jobs. The mindset usually works like this, and as voice talent, we have been there and done that online:
1. “I’m going to a website to create a profile.”
2. “Wow! Lots of boxes to check off. What is right for me?”
3. “I am a voice talent who needs work. Checking off boxes means matching to more job postings, which sounds like a good way to get work, by auditioning.”
Let the problems begin…
4. “I maybe do not offer certain things, BUT I certainly WANT to offer it. I plan to offer it and take a class on it. I did get booked once for that type of work in the past on a local level. So that counts, right? Maybe putting in a little false information will be ok, just for now? Sure, why not. Who is stopping me anyway. If there is no definite answer to “right or wrong”, why not just check all of them off, and see what happens from there.”
5. “Well, if the site does not work or no jobs come through that fit, I will just leave the demo and profile there and maybe someone will come along and find it one day. I heard that is good for SEO.”
Problems with this line of thinking
Let’s get the fundamental problems out of the way first:
a. Your SEO means nothing if your profile is “spammy”. SPAM may not be intended, but it may be decided upon by every producer who gets bothered with profiles claiming to be able to do everything, with no proof to back it up with demos or actual work.
b. You appear in website search results with other voice actors, who really are what they claim to be. With no one there to explain your line of thinking, the producer can only decide that you may be delusional or clueless, for example if you are a 50 yr-old man with monster truck demos showing up in a search result with teenage voice actors.
Put yourself in the shoes of a person hiring from a website
First, it should be stated that regardless of a person’s talent or offline experience, this is a serious communication issue that will lead to someone losing work for very human reasons, which also sounds like reasons people lost work many years ago:
“A person either felt lied to (aka. “BS-ed”), ignored, or that the voice talent they wanted to hire claimed to offer a product and service they could not.”
The process of working online has become more “human” in the past few years to the point where “getting attention” is not enough. You have to be minding the store you created when you signed up for a website. By this we mean the following:
- Do not false advertise, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Be humble about this and know where your skill level stands. Just because you did that accent for a small public access channel advertisement does not always mean you should call yourself an expert in it. Focus on your “money game”, first, and use that money to take classes to become an expert at something else.
- Do not leave the profile (your store) unattended. If you are on a website with an inactive account, make sure you do not start ignoring all the emails about job postings, especially when they contact you directly.
- Do not put false information on your profile about work you had done or who you may have representation with. The idea of “faking it til you make it”, especially in today’s world, will come back to haunt you at the worst time.
- Organize your best products more effectively and easy to read for a “website conversion”, not something to put on a show. Make it simple for people to hire you. Never underestimate the power of an “impulse buy”. People will often spend more simply because the process of doing so was easier. There is a lot of web junk floating around online in the shape of talent profiles.
Be nice as the manager of your profile/store! Yes, be nice when anyone communicates with you. There are millions of people online with millions of different needs. Just because you cross paths with an odd request, does not invite the chance to attack someone for thinking a certain way. Not everyone was meant to work together because they are at different stages of their careers.
If someone comes to your profile (aka. your store) and makes an offer that turns your stomach, instead of going on the attack about how insulted you feel, why not try the political approach of saying, “I am afraid I cannot work with you at those rates.” You stand a greater chance of opening up negotiations to be paid more, maybe even educating people on what your talent/product is worth, with a polite reply that indicates you are worth more than they offered.
Working online originally created the ability for people to create “perceptions” of what they can do, but as time goes on with more and more people working online, the need for those perceptions to be “real” has become more important.
Keep yourself “human” with your online voice-over website and profile!