Voice Over Actor Marketing Do’s & Don’ts

Part 3 of an Interview with Marketing Expert, Cheril Hendry of Brandtailers

Professional Female Voice Over Actor Debbie Grattan chats with Marketing Exec Cheril Hendry of Brandtailers about which specific qualities of a voice over actor stand out most from her perspective, including what to do and what NOT to do when working with producers.

Cheril Hendry, CEO of Brandtailers

Cheril Hendry is CEO and owner of Brandtailers, a digital-focused marketing firm that started as a traditional advertising agency 21 years ago. Today, she spends most of her time helping clients move into the new and often challenging world of online marketing and brand management.

Over the years Cheril and her team of agency professionals have worked with clients of all sizes, using their expertise in brand-tailing (the combining of brand messages with retail marketing for better ROI). From national work with automotive clients including Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Infiniti and more, to marketing campaigns for Red Robin, San Diego Chargers, MagLite, Carls’ Jr, Ikea, Wahoo’s and more, Hendry’s experience brings together a strong history of marketing focus on the consumer.

Debbie Grattan, Voice Over Actor: Are there particular qualities of a voice over actor that really stand out (not only in the voice and the delivery, but also in the person and their professional abilities) that make you want to hire them over and over again?

Cheril Hendry: Well, it’s always nice to have some good variety on their voice over demo, to hear their versatility, because that gives me the safety of knowing that if what I need is slightly different from what is on their demo, they can still deliver a read that will be on target.

I would suggest you always put that natural sounding delivery (discussed in previous article) at the top of your demo. If that’s really what 80% of the people are looking for, then that’s what I want to hear first. I don’t find that is done on most demos that I listen to. Usually it’s more of the traditional, classical type, character voices at the beginning of demos and I recommend you adjust that.

Debbie Grattan: Is there anything that a voice over actor does that really annoys you or is a big “no-no” in your book?

Cheril Hendry: I’ve noticed one thing that seems to be fairly common with some voice over actors and it’s innocent but it’s a little frustrating. We’ve moved to voiceover talent having their own home recording studios, and you can literally do a series of spots and get it done with really talented people in 10 or 15 minutes. Sometimes I think that the talent feels guilty for being able to do what they do so quickly, so they keep me on the phone for 30 minutes talking about, “how is this and how is that” and “I traveled here and I traveled there” and they just want to have a conversation.

So, I would prefer a voice over actor who’s like this: “Hi, how are ya? Great! How’s the kids? Fine. Let’s do this. Ok, great! Have a nice day! Bye.” It seems that I get so many of these people who just want to talk for 20 minutes! I don’t want to be rude, but, they don’t need to do that!

Debbie Grattan: I think in the old days when voice over actors used to go into a studio, there was that sense of sitting around, having a cup of coffee and chatting a little bit then you get the work done. We are so isolated now-a-days, sometimes those ISDN sessions are the only opportunity during a day when we get to hear another person’s voice besides our own! But, that’s a good word of warning and something I’ll have to watch myself!

Are there any other general trends that you think would be useful for voice over actors to be more aware of or to implement?

Cheril Hendry: Obviously, you have to have your own website. But, it’s a combination of search and keeping your name out there. I recommend you have a blog. I don’t know how much voiceover talent thinks that way, but that’s a great way to expose your skills through something other than just a website with demos on it.

You can tell stories (get the clients’ approval, of course) about why the voice was done the way it was, what the product is about, things of that sort. Especially for larger products and bigger budgets, you’ve got people out there who really want to understand how that works.

The other thing is there’s a basic expectation that if you’re dealing with a professional voice over actor, you expect them to have their own recording studio, you expect them to be able to coordinate their own work, etc. The more of that they can do, the more convenient and easy it is for the producer. I like working with voice over actors who make my job easier.

I actually had to have a talent go into a studio last week and we had to do all the coordination with the studio and I thought, “Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve had to do something like that.” I wasn’t even sure those studios were out there anymore. Now it’s all about speed and how much we can produce in the shortest timeframe.

Debbie Grattan: What is your opinion on newsletters, postcards, email newsletters and those types of marketing activities for voice over actors?

Cheril Hendry: Sometimes a newsletter feels like too much of a burden to read. I wouldn’t mind getting an email maybe once a month from talent saying, “here’s my latest work… did this for Coke, did this for Ford, or whatever.” Just to keep your name in front of that person and to know that you’re successful and you’re busy and you’ve got a lot of clients calling on you.

It’s always nice to see the face behind the voice, so I do still like getting postcards that have a picture of the voiceover talent. It just makes it a little more personal.

Be sure to read parts one and two of this interview:

Part 1: “Marketing Trends to Watch for Voice-Over Talent

Part 2: “How a Voice-Over Actress Can Approach New Producers