I was recently asked by Canadian based Voice Actor & Coach Marc Scott “If you could give a voice actor ONE piece of advice, what would it be?” Here’s my response:
CONNECTIONS are the key to your success. As I look back on a lifetime of working in this business as an audio producer and voice artist I can see where my greatest business drivers came from. Building personal one on one contacts and connections are what led to a strong, loyal client base. We’ve been blessed to have worked with more than a few clients for over 3 decades. Much of that was because we kept up with changing times, technology and trends – but I like to think it was also because we built bonds based on trust and professionalism.
Start locally and branch out. Social media is good, but work to build true “connections” and don’t let it suck your time.
Find a good mentor – or two – or three.
“Live” network with businesses and producer/directors in your region. That one–on-one and face-to-face connection is a powerful one that may lead to a good connection, especially in this social media driven world.
Build relationships with local audio studios that work in the media field. Find out what services they can provide to YOU like ISDN/Source Connect sessions, talent rates for studio rental where clients may want to come to direct you live. You would be amazed how that could then lead to referrals back to you because the engineers will get a chance to hear your voice and find out what it’s like to work with you.
Keep in contact with your contacts – without being a pest. When clients leave one company, follow them to their new job but keep your connection to their previous employer/company if you can. We can trace clients back 3, 4 or 5 levels of change that have stayed loyal to us over the years.
Marketing to all levels of clients works – but we have found the best clients are ones that come from other producers or within your own base of clients. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or leads – but don’t overstep your bounds. If you get hired by a producer, don’t reach out to their client.
Think outside the box – write a letter, send Holiday cards on unusual (non-card) Holidays, or send small tokens of appreciation when appropriate
Bottom line, don’t be a jerk. No one wants to work with jerks – and it is so easy to move on to the next voice. Be willing to go above and beyond (without being taken advantage of). Do good work and be detail oriented. But be pleasant, upbeat and responsive and it’ll pay dividends for years to come.
You can download Marc’s FREE E-Book “One Piece of VO Advice” with responses from 35 voiceover veterans — who all share their insight on how you can be a better voiceover professional.