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How to choose a voiceover: 4 things to think about

I thought it might be quite handy for people looking for a voiceover to get some ideas on how to pick the right one for their project.


It's important to understand that not all voices are suitable for all applications. To use an extreme example, using a deep and sensual tone for a new electric drill wouldn't work in most cases - unless your brand's going down the fun and quirky route. If it's not intentionally tongue in cheek, then it could leave your audience feeling a bit freaked out. Often, the viewer won't know why an ad doesn't quite feel right and sometimes it's because the voice choice is off. VOICE CHOICE. I like that, I'm keeping it.

This guy really wanted that drill but isn't so sure now. Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash.


So, let's look at 4 things to consider before diving straight in and hiring a VO.

  • Have a think about your brand. How do you see it? How do your customers see it? What's your ethos? Writing down some key words and emotions that describe your brand will help find a direction to aim in. Are you a friendly and caring company? Are you fresh and cooooool maaaaan? Are you 100% serious and corporate 24 hours a day?

  • Think about your target audience. Do you have a new product that's solely for people over 70? Do you want to appeal to the everyman? How about new parents?

  • A very important question to ask is HOW DO WE WANT THE AUDIENCE TO FEEL? Content? Determined? Shocked? Hopeful? Do you want them to form an opinion about your company? This in itself should give you a really good idea of what sort of voice you're looking (listening) for.

  • Also consider what you want the audience to do next. Is the purpose to get them to buy something? Do you want them to tell their friends about it? What's the main aim of your piece? Are you simply looking for their attention? Or do you want to encourage them to sign up to your website?

After this, you can move onto researching voiceover artists. Many of us have our own websites (I do, it's this one) with their demo reels for your perusal. Alternatively there's a multitude of voice over hiring sites where you can search VOs, filtering for different types and tones of voice.


BUT WHAT IF I CAN'T DECIDE?!


Well, if you're still having trouble choosing after listening to lots of demos (or if that method sounds too long winded), there's a couple of things you can do.

  • Contact me (come on it's my website, I'm allowed!) and ask for a sample read of your script. Lot's of VOs will do this for you. The huge benefit of this is getting to hear the voice with your script, free of charge. You'll get an idea pretty quickly if it works or not.

  • Hold a casting call on a voiceover hiring website. You'll get lots of people sending you reads of your script and you just have to choose.

Hopefully there's a few things in there you can do that might help you form an idea of what kind of voice you're looking for. Always remember your audience and what you want them to do, how you want them to feel or react and what your ultimate objective is.


One of the first things I learnt about voiceover is, quite simply:


A voice can make or break a project.


So get it right!


Edit: I've written a part 2 of sorts, titled "Before you hire a voice over artist, do your research", which flows SEAMLESSLY on from this one.


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© 2020 Martin Whiskin