Last Night on Clubhouse
Last night I had the delight of participating on a Clubhouse panel with some other fantastic, professional voice over actors from the US and Canada. Our focus was on marketing, and even as a panel member, it really got my wheels turning. I could not help but think of the specificity of my recent outreach, especially in eLearning. I have worked so hard to build my business as an eLearning narrator, and I think in order to really reach prospects, you need to think about who you are working with. From the very beginning of the process through the completion of the booked work, understanding your audience is essential to success as a working female narrator in eLearning.
From the Marketing…
Often our relationships with eLearning clients, whether they be independent instructional designers or larger companies that create content, begin because of marketing efforts. Sometimes our direct marketing is the first interaction a new eLearning client has with a voiceactor. You would never want to send a government client with classified, sensitive content a jovial and silly email that would not resonate. Likewise, you would never want to send a cosmetic company a super serious message that shows no personality. All of our outreach needs to have the end user, the eLearning client in mind. Our audience matters in every single correspondence.
Social media content, across platforms, needs to have the target audience in mind as well. This can be a bit trickier, as it is harder to control who sees your posts. You can, however, try to catch the eye of a specific group of clients or prospects by being clever about your target audience. If, for example, you are posing on Instagram and you want to reach out to instructional designers, both the content you use and the tags that you include in your post matters. Another way to grab your audience is to tag influencers and professionals in that field. Quote them. Have a conversation about them. If you want to work in eLearning, you need to be part of the dialogue.
Another tactic I often use is brochures. I use them to reach out to clients in eLearning when at eLearning conferences when I would love to show my website and samples of my work but cannot because we are in a huge convention center. I find that having a very branded prop is useful in establishing myself as a professional in the field and helps draw the prospect in. Again, in terms of being mindful of the audience, since conference have a range of content creators, the brochure needs to be professional and have all the essentials.
To the Audition…
The eLearning audience must be top of mind when auditioning. You always have to know who you are talking to, and what the audio is being used for. Imagine if you sent an upbeat and humorous toned training to a group of CPAs, it would not fit. Conversely, let’s take the example of the cosmetic company again, because I happen to love doing trainings for them. Imagine if you were doing training for hair stylists about hair brush options available and instead of sending a relatable, warm tone you sounded like a detached CPA. That also really would not work. When submitting eLearning auditions as a female narrator, the audience drives the read you give. It informs the tone, the texture you add, the variation in the pace. An energetic happy read has a very different pace than a professional, thoughtful read. Again, the audience in eLearning matters.
When you book an eLearning job, understanding the audience or the enduser is so important. For example, I was recently cast in a training for a local hospital: RWJ St. Barnabas, right here in NJ. It was a caller training. When I first read through the script, in my practice read, I sounded warm, gracious, and welcoming. I then re-read my roll: “Bad Caller.” I was the example of what not to do. Everything I just rehearsed had to be thrown out the window and the opposite read was needed. I was talking to the same people, but I was the example of what not to do, and I had to be the best “Bad Caller” they ever heard. Your job as an eLearning narrator is to make it obvious. They should not have had to figure out what was wrong with my phone skills, so I had to make every effort to clearly connect with the listener. Keeping the audience in mind should inform and transform every eLearning performance.
The Rapport with Your Clients
As a voice over actor, understanding your audience is what makes life easy for your clients. If you don’t get it, the narration will never be right. It makes it easier for everyone for you to clearly connect with the audience you are speaking to in eLearning.