Finding a Voice for Explainer Videos
Explainer videos are all the rage and are here to stay. With the amount of revolutionary new products and services being invented everyday and the ever shortening attention span of consumers, ways to explain what your company does in a quick, concise and interesting manner are more important that ever.
A narrated explainer video fits the bill better than anything else. Remember what they taught you in school, the easiest way to make someone remember something make sure they hear it and see it at the same time. People are bombarded with ads while they are online and to get their attention you have to talk to them like a person would, clarify their need and establish trust before making a pitch.
When looking for voice talent to narrate your video you should first consider the demographic of your customers. People tend to like and trust other people that are most like them or remind them of someone they do trust. But a video for a product marketed to seniors doesn’t necessarily need a senior to narrate it and products for kids aren’t always voiced by other kids. Let’s think about why. Seniors often trust their kids or grandchildren to explain new technology to them and kids listen to popular adults that they view as fun and cool. Sometimes a sexy female voice is used to sell trucks to men, no explanation needed there. There isn’t a perfect voice style for your product. It’s advertising and it’s subjective. Even at the very highest levels it’s much more an art than a science. The important point is to think about it and be deliberate in your choice when you are shopping for a voice talent to narrate your explainer video.
Consider your budget. Don’t skimp on a voice thinking all you need is someone with a microphone. There’s a reason successful companies hire successful voice actors again and again. The differences between an amateur and professional voice may sometimes be subtle to the untrained ear but it all adds up to an overall impression your present to your customers. Rarely can someone really put their finger on why a voice actor doesn’t seem believable but they know it when they hear it and a inauthentic pitchman will undermine your chance of fostering trust faster than almost anything else. Humans relate to other humans and in an animated video, the only thing “human” to relate to is the voice over, if it’s not believable you are sunk from the first sentence.
“I just want my voice over to sound like a regular person, not a ‘voice over guy’ so I’ll just have my brother do it”. You do want a voice over that sounds like a regular person you might meet on the street but regular people only sound “normal” when they are speaking their own authentic thoughts. When you give them a script they sound anything but. It’s counter intuitive to think you need a trained voice to sound normal but it’s true and it’s the basis of acting. You need someone who can make your script sound like their own words, and portray someone who your audience can relate to. So pick an actor that is personally close to who you think your audience could relate to and have them audition. Do they sound like someone your audience would relate to and trust easily?
Finally, look to other successful companies who share your demographic. If you need a video narrated for a new software, listen to the kind of voice Apple or IBM picks. The people who hire those voices for big companies hire them for specific reasons, after years of experience in the industry. Now you don’t need the same actor but you can find someone with a similar style. Mike Rowe does lots of explainer style videos for tools and trucks for a reason. You likely can’t afford Mike Rowe but there are actors out there that sound kinda like him. You are only after a similar persona, not a voice match. Make sure whoever you hire has done similar explainer videos and you like the results. Have they worked with any big companies more than once? It’s likely that they were hired again because their voice tested well with that companies demographic, exactly the kind of voice guy (or gal) you want.
Like most things, your options are nearly endless when picking a voice to narrate your explainer video but thinking about a few key things can narrow the field down to a voice that will work best for your video.