Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Creating an Impressive Web Presence



The sponsors of Voice Acting For Dummies are offering this guest blog post that I thought would be helpful to actors and writers. Enjoy! 


An effective Internet marketing strategy is one of the keys to a successful voice acting business. Your business needs a multi-pronged approach to ensure positive results. One of the first things any voice actor needs to do before jumping in full force to self-market is to build a website. This website can be a traditional one or it may be having a profile on a voice-over marketplace. Most people have both. In the following sections, we focus on how you can build your web presence with a personal website that you can be proud of, how you can utilize social media, how you can maximize how people can locate your presence, and how you can advertise online. (We discuss a marketplace site in the “Utilizing a Voice Acting Marketplace Website” section in this chapter.)

Building a personal website

When you modestly invest in securing a domain name and hosting a website for your business, you’re able to use this virtual real estate to maintain an aesthetically pleasing and up-to-date website that promotes your voice. In other words, you have a place to hang your hat and show people who you are and what you’re about.



Many voice actors prefer to brand their websites using their name, while some take a more creative approach with how they are branding themselves. When picking your domain, you need to factor in availability, how easy it is to spell/type, and also how well the domain name reflects your brand. Even if you aren’t a computer genius, you can find innovative ways that beautifully reflect your business while giving you the ability to update your content easily using a content management system such as WordPress. Look on websites like NetworkSolutions, Yahoo!, and GoDaddy to see if the domain name you want to buy is available.



After you know that your desired domain name is available, secure the name by purchasing it and perhaps even extending your ownership by more than just the one-year option. You also need a web-hosting package. In the event that the company you bought your domain name from doesn’t provide a web-hosting package, you can find several good web-hosting companies out there, including www.hostgator.com, www.rackspace.com, and www.1and1.com.



After you have a web host, one of your first orders of business should be to install a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. A CMS gives you the flexibility to update your content as often as you want. You don’t need to know about computer programming to have a beautiful and functional website. These platforms allow you to change the graphics and text of each page using a WYSIWIG editor (“What you see is what you get”) that also helps you to rank higher in the search engines.

Wondering what you should write
On your website, highlight and promote your abilities so clients know what you can do. You’re the only one who knows exactly what you are great at, so make sure you prominently and honestly feature those skills.



Along the same lines, your spelling, grammar, and choice of words definitely impact your audience. If you write in the third person (he, she) rather than the first person (I), you can use your name in the body of your profile and increase your visibility in the search engine. Whichever you choose, use it consistently.

Telling customers what you can do for them
Clients require your services because you can do something for them that they can’t do for themselves. As a result, you want to write text for your website that addresses their needs while respecting the fact that they need something specific and have limited time to find what they’re looking for. Some needs that someone requiring your services may have include artistic and technical needs.
The customer expects that most voice actors can also serve as audio engineers to a degree, meaning that you can record your own voice, make edits, and also present the best audio quality possible. Some may even expect that you can include music or sound effects, or you can draw upon the talent of other voice actors when producing their project.
Refer to the later section, “Filling out your profile” for more help. That section focuses on using a voice acting marketplace website, but the same premises apply about how you can write compelling text about yourself and your abilities for your website.

Marketing on social networks
These days it’s not just about who you know, it’s about how many people you know that matters. Social media now plays such an important role in getting more friends — and thus more business prospects.
With social media, virtual friendships have increased the number of friends and potential networks you are connected to. You can have similar interests and business goals with those friends, which in turn allows you to share opportunities and successes in your voice acting career.
The three main social media sites that we suggest you use to market your voice acting include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.



Avoiding social media burnout
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media and social networking, you may find that maintaining too many profiles on social networks may become one more thing on your to-do list or the straw that breaks the camel's back. Having several profiles on social media can also become addicting if you’re constantly updating, tweeting, or reading what others are doing instead of actually doing anything yourself. Social media has a lot of noise, so be careful and spend your time social networking wisely.



Understanding how to build a web presence including more on social media, search engines and advertising is important. Are you ready to learn more about voice acting?  To discover more about this exciting field and the book, visit VoiceActingForDummies.com.



About The Authors
Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of Voices.com, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past 9 years Stephanie, David, and their team have grown Voices.com from the ground up to become the leader in the industry. This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

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