Whether you’re making an explainer video for your business site, launching a new product on Kickstarter, or running a radio ad, you need a professional voice actor.
While you might be tempted to bootstrap the process to save a few bucks, bad voice acting can doom an otherwise stellar video or ad. It might sound “good enough” to you. But your audience won’t be so forgiving.
So here are five steps for how to hire voice actors to give your next project the professional touch it deserves.
Step 1: Set Your Budget
This is integral when it comes to hiring anyone, really. You need a firm idea of how much you are willing to invest in the project before you can start exploring your options.
You don’t want to go through all the back and forth with a potential voice actor only to find out that they are way out of your budget. That’s a waste of your time and theirs.
How Much Does a Voice Actor Cost?
On average, you will pay $100 to $400 per minute if you are hiring a voice actor through an agency.
However, you can save significantly by going directly to the source and hiring a freelance voice actor. Because they don’t have the same overhead as an agency, you can often cut your budget in half or more by working with the voice actor directly.
Broadcast Vs Non-broadcast Rates
One thing to keep in mind is that it is standard in the voice actor industry to charge more for broadcast recordings, such as for TV and radio ads. Often, these prices vary widely based on industry and the length of time the ad will be running.
Step 2: Define Your Audience
The better you can define who you are trying to reach, the better you will be able to find a voice actor who can reach them.
Consider these questions as you imagine the audience you are targeting:
- What is their age bracket? If you are trying to reach a specific generation, you may be better off with certain types of voices over others. The same sort of voice to sell a video game may not work to sell Medicare insurance, for example.
- Where are they located? If your audience is located in the UK, for example, you probably want a voice actor with a British accent. Think likewise if you are targeting a small region as well, such as a radio ad that will be running in a midwest American city.
- How do they need to be motivated? Think about what it will take to get your audience to convert into a customer. Do they need a voice of encouragement? of concern? of warning? of energy?
- What is their biggest pain point? If your customer needs a solution now, your actor may want to take on a voice of urgency. If they are a more budget-minded customer, your voice actor may adopt a more salesy, “but wait there’s more” voice.
Using these questions, and others in the same vein, put together a brief write up that communicates your target audience and how you want to reach them. This will be helpful for you and your potential hires as you try to find the best voice actor for you.
Here’s an example to give you an idea:
Our business helps people save for retirement when they’ve neglected it for many years. Our main demographic is middle class workers in their mid 30s to early 50s. They are starting to worry that years of poor money management will mean that they will never be able to afford to retire. We need a voice for a national radio ad that will make them feel hopeful—that all is not lost and that we are their solution to retiring on time without taking big financial risks.
Step 3: Make Your Short List
Now it’s time to start reviewing potential voice actors and making a list of the ones you are serious about hiring. Try to narrow your list down to 3 to 5 potential candidates.
If you are thinking about cutting out some of the overhead, you may want to check out the freelance voice actors who offer their services on Legiit. This is an easy way to work directly with your voice actor on a marketplace that offers a secure payment process.
It is usually helpful to listen to samples to see who makes your list. For various usage rights reasons, voice actors may not be able to publish past client work, though. So don’t be shy about sending them a message to ask for a private sample.
Once you have your short list drafted, it’s just a matter of weighing all your various needs against one another. Are you more concerned with budget or quality? Does one of your potential hires have more reviews than the rest? Do any of them have experience in the specific industry you are advertising in?
Step 4: Communicate Expectations
Eventually, you’ll have to choose who you want to hire. Before you actually place an order or draw up a contract, though, reach out to make sure all of the expectations are clear—on both sides of the table.
Show them your audience write-up, ask questions about revisions, settle on a price, and so on. Ensure that you are aware of their expectations and they are aware of yours.
If anything seems uncertain, don’t move forward. You are better off trying to work with someone else on your list. And try not to haggle prices with your freelance voice actor, either. They’ve set their fees for a reason. If they end up working for less, odds are one or both of you won’t be satisfied with the way the project goes.
Step 5: Hire Your Voice Actor
If there are no red flags and both of you are on the same page about everything, it’s time to hire. Legiit makes this pretty easy and secure.
If you aren’t using a marketplace, you may want to draw up a contract to protect yourself. Often, your voice actor will already have this taken care of.
The advantage of using a platform like Legiit is that you only have to pay if your freelancer delivers what was promised. If you think that sounds right for you, check out the freelance voice talent on Legiit today.