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Marketing: 15 Things NOT To Say
In Your Voice-Over Cover Letter
 
By David Goldberg
Producer & Owner, Edge Studio
 
After reading many, many cover letters, we've seen it all. And then some.
 
The following advice about cover letters will make a BIG difference when you market.
 
1. 'DEAR SIR OR MADAM ...'
 
When you receive an email addressed to "Dear Sir" or "To whom it may concern," don't you delete it? So do casting directors.
 
Folks, you may think you're SAVING TIME by avoiding the four minutes it takes to get a contact's name - but in actuality, you are WASTING TIME because a large percentage of recipients will probably never open your email to begin with!
  • Look up their web site.
  • Do a Google search.
  • Call the company.
  • Do what you must to get the recipient's name!!! 
Begin your letters with "Hi Frank," or "Dear Mary."
 
2. 'I KNOW YOU'RE BUSY ...'
 
Really? How do you know that? This is no way to begin your email.
 
Instead, begin with something that will catch the attention of the recipient. Perhaps:
  • "Ever need a French voice talent with a home studio?" or
  • "Sure, times are tough, so I'm offering voice-over at half price!" or
  • "Your company looks terrific - especially the fact that you donate services. I'm willing to donate my voice-over services with you."
3. 'WOULD YOU MIND IF ...
 
One way to show that you LACK confidence is to say, "Would you mind if" or "If you have time" or "Maybe you could" or "I was wondering if."
 
I suggest that you sound confident. For example:
  • "My demo speaks (no pun) for itself," or
  • "Most of my customers become repeat customers," or
  • "They say I take direction really quickly."
4. 'HERE'S MY DEMO ...' 
 
Let me guess. You're a copywriter? No? Okay, a director? No? Then what are you?
 
Here's the scoop: YOU KNOW who you are, but THEY DO NOT! So be clear. Say:
  • "I'm a voice-over talent," or
  • "I provide narrations for ..." or "Attached is my voice-over demo."
5. 'I DO VOICE-OVERS ...'
 
First of all, you don't "do" voice-overs. Rather, you:
  • "Provide commercial and/or narration voice-over services," or you
  • "Help businesses increase their bottom line by including free editing with voice-over recordings."
Get it?
 
6. 'IF YOU FIND I'M NOT RIGHT FOR SOMETHING, I HOPE YOU'LL CALL ...'
 
That's nice. Instead, how about giving me a reason to call? Try:
  • "I provide voice-over for corporate presentations, training videos, and online tutorials." Or maybe
  • "Quick turn-around, with excellent quality, and a friendly smile."
7. 'SORRY, THIS TIME MY DEMO IS ATTACHED ...'
 
Please - take a moment before hitting "send" to avoid this.
 
8. TYPOS!
 
Wel nuthing maekes u les profesional then tipos. Enugh sayd.
 
9. 'ABB...' 
 
What does "abb" mean? Oh, its the abbreviation for "abbreviation." Didn't know that? Not everyone does.
 
In fact, not everyone is as abbreviation-hip as you are. So my suggestion is to avoid them.
 
Remember, your email may get forwarded to business people who live in the corporate world, and who are used to formal, business-like letters. In other words, no more,
"R u in need of VOs? My com demo is attchd. T."
10. 'I, I, I, I, & I ...'
 
Here's a typical email we receive:
"Hi, I do voice-overs. I do commercial and narrations. I have a home studio. I have excellent quality and I was trained by ...."
Notice that every sentence begins with "I".
 
So here's the important question: when marketing, do you want to intrigue yourself or your potential customer? Assuming the latter, compose your email so that it benefits them.
 
This means no "I"s. Instead, write "You"s. For example, instead of, "I do medical voice-over," say,
"Next time your client needs a medical script narrated, calling me will make you look terrific!"
11. 'BORN IN ... THEN I MOVED TO ... NEXT, I ... AND TODAY I ...'
 
Really, the question is, who cares?
 
Want proof? Do you ever want to read someone else's life story? No? Suggestion: keep it brief. Very brief. Try this:
"After extensive training and some solid experience in Montauk, this voice-over guy is expanding into your territory!"
12. 'I HAD TO TAKE MY MOM TO THE HOSPITAL ...'
 
Who cares? Or, "It was my daughter's birthday yesterday."
 
Again, who cares! Twenty-seven million people were taken to the hospital yesterday. One hundred fourteen million people had birthdays.
 
Telling personal information like this just makes the recipient feel like they need to remark - but why should they, when they don't even know you?
 
If you have a potential customer's attention for only one minute, use it to PROMOTE yourself, NOT to chit chat.
 
13.
 
Exactly. Nothing tells me nothing about you.
 
I STRONGLY encourage you to NOT send a blank email with a demo attached.
 
14. 'I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU ...'
 
Huh? Are you kidding me? The next step is STILL yours.
 
The fact is, you need to get in front of your potential customer four times before they'll remember you. Try this instead:
  • "I'll contact you in a week," or
  • "Next week you'll see another email from me ... this one with a special offer."
15. 'PEACE ...'
 
Unless you know that the recipient will appreciate "Peace," or "See ya," or "Later," be professional.
 
On that note, Hasta La Vista, Baby. Just kidding.
 
ABOUT DAVID ...
 
David Goldberg is a voice-over producer, coach, and the owner of Edge Studio, a major voice-over recording studio and voice-over education company based in New York City, with additional studios in Fairfield, CT and Bethesda, MD. Edge Studio offers a large variety of in-person and teleclass workshops and seminars for voice actors, and also produces audio for major clients including Disney, VW, Microsoft, National Geographic. The studio frequently casts voice talent who have trained and produced demos there.
 
 
 
 
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Comments (1)
Donna
7/10/2010 at 4:25 PM
Thanks - very helpful information.
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