An Essential for Every VO Talent Tool Kit by Scott Burns

Edge Studio

On any voice over forum, you’ll find all sorts of discussions about what’s the best microphone, processing gear, soundproofing material and whatever. These are obviously important tools for a voice talent to have. But to really succeed in this business, there’s another item, seldom mentioned, that should be on your must-have list – a thick stack of Thank-You cards!

“What?” you ask. “Thank-you cards? What century are YOU from?”

As antiquated as this may appear in today’s digitally instant-messaged world, I’ve found thank-you cards to be a very effective means of marketing.

But I can hear you now, “Wait, how crass! Thank-you cards are supposed to be expressions of genuine gratitude with no ulterior motive.””

Well, of course, they are. They should convey a truly heart-felt thanks! But if you’ll quit interrupting me, I’ll share an a-ha moment with you, where such a note did that and much more.

One of the fun duties of my day job as audio production manager for Destination Marketing is to cast and hire voice talent for our clients’ radio commercials. I often need to turn the spots around “yesterday,” which means I have to scramble to find a talent NOW. So just the other day, I was again scanning my brain for tried-and-true talent, whom I knew, who have home studios, and who were probably in their studios now.

Enter the thank-you note.

A few days prior, I’d received a thank-you card from a talented student who had attended my voice over workshop. Just as I was about to go through my voice talent roster, I glanced at her thank-you card on my desk. What a serendipitous moment! If she had not sent that card, in my rush she would not have been top-of-mind.

Another thing that was noteworthy about her note, she hadn’t included a business card or verbiage such as, “I hope you’ll think of me for your next voice project.” She didn’t have to. I already knew how to get hold of her, since her contact info was on the class roster. A sincere expression of gratitude was enough to get me to look it up.

“Hey,” you might well say, “I already do that – by email!”

Yes, an email thank-you is nice; receiving it can warm the heart. But almost as soon as that email is read, it’s deleted, or moved to a folder, or buried by tons of other emails.

And email can’t compare to receiving something tangible, something even enclosed in a real envelope. Now you’re spending more time with the recipient. As they handle the card and see who it’s from, senses are engaged. They open it up, feel the quality of the card stock, admire the design, then discover a personalized, hand-written message! Most likely, the recipient is going to feel guilty tossing it away, especially if the card is extra special with your own arty touch. The “art” needn’t be profound – just so long as the graphics are clean and professional, and the message (if you add one) is something thoughtful and specific to you, or the recipient, or the session … something not everyone’s card will say.

“But Scott, postage isn’t getting any cheaper, and it’s hard to find cards that don’t look like they came out of Grandma’s doily collection. Besides, emails are more environmentally friendly!”

There you go interrupting again. To that concern, I say budget thank-you cards in your marketing plan, designing and printing them as you do your business cards and letterhead. If you can use recycled materials, so much the better. I can pretty much guarantee that, properly done, they won’t themselves quickly wind up in the trash. Even if they do sometimes re-purpose nicely as coffee coasters.

For more information about coaching with Scott Burns or any other Edge Studio instructor, please click here or call our office at 888-321-3343.