We all work so hard to gain traction in the online voiceover industry, but you have to be able to spot its happening
“Traction” vs “Partying with Friends”
If you are someone who measures this traction based solely on “emotional traction” or “seeing that your traction is favorable in public opinion”, you may be selling yourself short. As it stands right now, these numbers come into play online:
- 265,000 possible voiceover talent
- Less than 10,000 of them get work, or can work full-time
There is, in fact, a glass ceiling on the amount of voiceover work online, given there are currently closed to 50,000 needing a voiceover everyday globally, but they are not always hiring online. There are often jobs that seem like strange ways to lend a voice to someone’s personal project, and then those really big jobs everyone waits to jump on. However, if you pay attention to the 1000 of your closest friends’ opinions, regardless of how it makes you feel, you may not have the traction online that you think. Traction cannot be defined as having a cheering section of support for you already has that traction before you started.
Bizarre signs of traction
It never happens online the way we think it will, but these seem to be those bizarre signs that stretch beyond the limits of “what your friends find worthy”.
Your content is mined for usage on other websites
Sign of Traction: A picture or demo you used on your website seems to get a great deal of hits or attention. Someone in another country is thinking of starting a casting site, and while doing research, notices that your content/demo/images is popular for the industry of voiceover casting. As a result, they use the content for their own site. This happens all the time, and the easiest way to find out is through setting up Google Alerts…lots of them.
Congratulations! Whatever you created has gained traction enough that someone else saw it as a good business move to borrow it without asking. You should address this with the person and that may lead to a new networking opportunity. By the way, this is also why Google has a problem with duplicate content. If you want someone to find you for the content you created, you do not want to be beat out by a website copying it from another country or industry.
Competitors start checking you out
Sign of traction: You got your competitors attention. You maybe shook them up a little bit or made them think. Some are of the false belief that the Internet is a vast black hole. Not true. With the right tools, even something as simple as Google Analytics, you can see who is checking you out and how they behave on your website.
Congratulations! Whatever you did got the attention of someone you will compete with. They now see you as competition. Should that bother you? No, but it should cause you to think a bit more about your defensive business strategy, and also start thinking like a “business owner” not just a “voice talent”.
You start to get strange inquiries from around the world
Sign of traction: You are being found during a specific search before someone else. We have often seen voice talent say things such as, “I cannot believe this guy asked me to do a 5-page script for 50 dollars!”. If you look deeper into such requests, you may find out the inquiry came from a part of the world where the average income is very low OR you may be using words to sell your business that put you into search results for the wrong reasons. ex: The hardest part of being a voiceover casting website is a business’ understanding of the difference between voice over IP & voiceover talent.
Congratulations! People are finding your website, and they are asking to hire you. If they cannot afford you, no need to be upset. Just acknowledge that your name is getting out there.
Someone steals your name and spells it differently for his/her own marketing
Sign of traction: Your name is now so well-known, that it could very well make sense for someone to use it with a different spelling, but it keeps the same pronunciation, or more so, use a name that is a common misspelling of yours. It is slightly pathetic to build a web following around the misspelling of a company or person’s name, but larger companies are aware of this and may buy misspelled domain names and set up redirect links leading the person back to the target site.
Congratulations! Your name is so well-known that people see opportunity in using a misspelled version of it. This is kind of a pain, but at least you can make some news in the process of getting them to stop using your name.
The lighter side of things
The nice thing about growth? The more you grow the more your website takes on a life of its own and that life is working for you while you sleep. Although this may create more work for you to maintain reputation, the fact that you gained enough traction to stir some things up, means you should rest easy in the knowledge that you did something someone saw opportunity in.
And after all, impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery, whether its a casting website or the sound of a voice. These are indeed strange times we live in and to properly adjust to a changing industry, we must first know what exactly is happening, even if it makes us a little nervous at first. You may even find this insulting. Afterwards, you can decide if it is a good idea to contact a person and ask them to cease and desist usage of something you did. But is that going to help you? You have to know what they did, first.
Has anything like the above ever happened to you? Leave a comment. Maybe we can help!