The LinkedIn Invasion
There are several voice over-related groups on Linkedin (and I feel like I’ve joined every one of them.) And lately, these groups are all in agreement on one thing:
The amateurs have discovered Linkedin.
Linkedin positioned itself as the social media platform for professionals; The Facebook of the business world. It's the place to connect with former colleagues, current peers and potential
Over the past few months, most voiceover related groups have become swamped with a deluge of inexperienced voice talent trying to find the quick way to make money. For example, a group that's supposed to be dedicated to voice over jobs and opportunities, now has post after post of people begging for work. “Hello! I’m a [mostly untalented] voice artist specializing in Swahili eLearning! Here’s my demo!” “Hi all! I’m a voice artist that’s been doing promos for my local low power FM pirate radio station in middle-of-nowhere North Dakota. Hire me for your next multi-million dollar national ad campaign! Here’s my website...” etc. My particular "favorite" is one voice artist that will drop his demos into every single conversation he can find. And they aren't even good demos! Usually overly-edited, echoy, and dull.
The marketing concept of "top of mind awareness" is a prett simple concept to grasp: The more frequently your potential client is exposed to your brand, the more likely they are to hire you. I can see that this fellow is just trying to "expose his brand." But when your strategy is to spam every VO group with your amateur garbage, it's putting you "top of mind" in the wrong direction. Now, every time I see this person's name on Linkedin, I flag the post and move on.
And why in the world are these people spamming the other voice artists?
The object of this business
is to get your demo listented to
by the person that could hire you.
What we're seeing is a hijacking of Linkedin by desperate voice artists that don't have the first idea about how to actually run their careers. Instead of studying the hows and whys of marketing and social media, they flood a voiceover group with their "hey look at what I can do" nonsense in the confused hope that announcing this to their peers will somehow translate into them getting work.
Meanwhile, the established voiceover pros that don’t have time for this kind of noise are jumping ship right and left, Ironically taking the time to voice their opinion publicly while doing so.
Honestly, you can’t really blame these amateurs for trying. The real fault for why this is happening falls onto two groups of individuals.
First, to the moderators of voiceover groups: it may not have occurred to you, but from time to time, your job may, in fact, involve doing some actual moderation to make sure that the noise floor stays low and the spam doesn’t outweigh the content. A moderator is supposed to guide the conversations so they stay on topic, mediate disputes that occasionally pop up and generally be the figurehead for the forum while being as approachable and amiable as possible.
Moderators actually moderating: Wow. What a novel concept! The second group that’s responsible for the tsunami of spam are the established, working voice over professionals themselves. These pros are so caught up in their own little world that they would never think to offer any advice to the amateurs that are flooding the forums. I think these people are missing a valuable opportunity to help those poor misguided souls in the art and science of voiceover marketing; To show these young ducks the right ways to build and run a successful voiceover business.
The voiceover industry is in the middle of a renaissance. As technology continues to make the process of recording, editing and distributing easier and cheaper, and pay-to-play voiceover marketplaces have revolutionized the way clients and talent interact, the industry continues to see an increase in individuals who think all they need to make money is a microphone, laptop and wifi. They don't realize that it takes training, and a carefully prepared roadmap for success in order to reach their goal.
This is why I’m always willing to help new voice artists. Having someone who can show them the error of their ways can help to reduce the time it takes to go from amateur to professional. The demand for talented voice artists is increasing daily. There’s plenty of work for everyone. I’d rather network and make new friends than sit on my laurels and grumble about amateurs.
About Rob Marley -
A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, producer and writer, now living in the Hill Country of Austin Texas.