A former student of mine emailed me this week because they’d reached a place in their voice over journey where they felt…stuck. Ooof. This one hit close to home. We have ALLLLLLLL felt stuck. Even the people who we ‘think’ are at the top of the game will have days, months and even years where they feel stuck too. This is especially true for yours truly. When that moment comes I usually spiral into a manic tornado of trying to ‘figure out’ the problem and ‘fix it’. I typically go off the deep end for a while researching how easy it is to get a master degree or real estate license. And then I reel it back and look at the steps I've outlined for myself and if I'm following them or just giving them lip service. If you have ever felt stuck in a small way or freak out massively (like me!) you are in good company and there are many ways to help feel unstuck and begin to move your career and artistic expression in momentous ways again.
Of course, the first move should be to get back into a class and be a student again for a little while. Maybe your approach is stale, maybe your style isn’t currently ‘trendy’ or maybe you’re not as ready to be in the professional world as you think you are. I will address that topic in a different blog post. This one is about…dun dun duuuuuuuuuunnnn…marketing.
There are times when the reason we are stuck in the same place is because we haven’t yet met the people or circumstances to get us to a different place. Marketing yourself is where we have the most control and most concrete actionable steps.
If you have a business for your voice over career (S Corp, LLC, Inc, etc), register it as a Google business and take advantage of your local listing services. I love Nextdoor and my neighborhood watch group's online newsletter. Listing is typically free and then you can respond to questions and comments on posts as your business. Yelp and CitySeach can be good list services as well. Get involved in your local community as a service provider will open doors you didn't know existed.
Having clients come to you is one of the most gratifying feelings. One of the best way they find you is through your online presence. Social media is an avenue, however, in our corner of the business world, our social media is often intermingled with our friends and family which can make the brand you're establishing as a professional muddy. However, I have seen it done successfully and if this is something you do well, go for it. If it’s something you have a hard time being consistent with, then spending time creating your brand and website is a better use of your time. Caution: do NOT spend hundreds on a branding professional or specific voice over marketing course at the beginning of your career. If you're curious about how to build a better website and leverage SEO, a community college course or class on Udemy or similar will give you as much or more information. If you don't have the time or patience for it, hiring someone is a great idea but shop around and talk to at least three different professionals. Companies like Wix, GoDaddy, SquareSpace, Wordpress, etc can also build a website for you with very little hassle. Wordpress is the best at utilizing SEO but a little more cumbersome for the novice website builder.
Get into the online community. Now...you're probably thinking "I've already joined twenty voice over groups on Facebook". Facebook VO groups are NOT a place to market yourself. Use VO groups to learn, get involved in the community and support each other. To market yourself, join business and solopreneur groups that are local and a few that are national/international. These groups are created to network and offer solutions to business' needs. They will also teach you strategies for introducing your service to different sectors of the business world. Outside of facebook, look into Quora. Create a profile, answer questions and post your own. Look into subreddits for drilling down into niche upon niche topics. Join TikTok to get quick tips from professionals and follow people whose careers you'd like to emulate and watch what they do and how they do it. Get on LinkedIn but use this platform to branch into parts of the industry you'd be the most valuable rather than use it to find and market to other voice over professionals. Don't reach to business professionals with a hand out asking for paid work, that's an instant red mark, instead ask in what ways you can service their current business conundrums and work towards ways to solve it.
Use Canva, Photoshop or a local printer to make a postcard and send it out to companies you'd like to work for. Keep the design simple and know exactly what you want your intended audience to do once they get your postcard. Do you want them to throw it away, pin it on their office bulletin board, call you immediately, check out your website, etc. Be as specific and know your worth!
CLIENT RELATIONS MANAGEMENT
Client relations management (or CRM) is one of the best tools you can utilize for your marketing. A CRM will keep track of clients you have a clients you've marketed to and track conversions as well as keep everyone on a schedule to keep in contact with your valuable network. Some popular CRM tools Keap, Zoho and Monday. These are great but since they are built with large companies keeping track of their project management pipelines, I prefer personal CRM tools like Dex and 20Nine. The CRM I use and my all time favorite is Hubspot.
Amplify! Whatever work you think you’re doing to market yourself, put that at a level 5 and amp it up to a 7 or 8 and see what that does and how it feels. Sending five cold emails a week? Try 20. Posting once on LinkedIn? Post twice and comment on four.
Marketing is less about selling and more about creating relationships. So reach out to people and get advice, share strategies freely, support each other and keep learning. We never reach the top of where we’re wanting to go. It’s just a journey. Make it a fun one.
You got this. Stay strong.