Branding. Why it’s important.

Voice talent Rachel Alena talks about the importance of branding your business.

 

Do you specialize in cleaning horses or houses?

Customer: ‘Why sir? What do you do?’

Business Owner: ‘As a matter of fact, I clean things.’

Customer: ‘Most excellent! Please proceed. Clean my horse!’

House. Horse. Does it matter?

When you’re not branding yourself, it matters. You get the jobs you GET. Not necessarily the jobs you WANT.

Branding is the perception that a consumer has when they hear or think of your company name, service or product. To hit the mark with your branding, you must understand the needs of your customers. You also have to know what your own strengths are.

To brand successfully you want to:

  • Clearly, deliver your message. (I clean large HOUSES.)
  • Show that you are credible and skilled at what you do. (I’ve been cleaning large houses for 10 years. Here are examples of the great things my clients say about me!)
  • Engage your target prospects. (Give reasons that a clean house will make customers feel amazing.)
  • Motivate people to want to work with you or buy from you. (I have an excellent reputation and understand where dirt hides ESPECIALLY in large houses.)
  • Create long-term business relationships. (This is where you DELIVER the goods! Always provide excellent work & great communication. Help your clients have a better day every time they work with you!)

As a voice talent, there are many types of work you can do such as narrating commercials, audiobooks, tutorials, eLearnings, webinars, phone trees and so much more!

Do them all! That’s how you’ll become a master of your craft. Then, through experience, find where you excel and where your heart feels happy.

Become an expert at something within your wheelhouse! Give your customers the best service and knowledge in a SPECIFC area. This leads to two things:

1. More satisfying work.
2. A loyal client base. They’ll return to you over and over because they know you can deliver.

To start thinking about branding, ask yourself some questions:

  • What are my experiences?
  • Where have I spent the most time working in my field?
  • What type of work do I enjoy?
  • What am I really good at? Think back to feedback you’ve received from customers. Where have they raved about you?

Personally, if it’s a message that needs to be heard by mankind, I’m happy to share it!  No matter what the format is; be it a commercial, video game or Disney toy.

But, I’ve learned over the years that I love teaching. I’m also good at teaching. So, I specialize in eLearnings, tutorials and self-help books. In this, I’m able to use my voice acting/production skills along with my love for teaching others.

Branding isn’t just about gaining new customers. It’s also about the life of your business.

You can start by creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates your product from other products.

Then, enjoy a horseback ride…

…Just be sure to leave your sponge and bucket at home.


Do you want to narrate audiobooks? Rachel is hosting a workshop at the Boulder Writing Studio on Nov. 4! Space is limited. Details here.


Rachel Alena is an eLearning/Tutorial narration expert. She is a national voice talent who brings over 20 years of experience in voice acting to her clients and students. She has voiced hundreds of narrations for clients such as Disney, Microsoft, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential.

She also provides private voice over training for students all across the country. Her studio is located near Boulder, Colorado.

Feel free to reach out to Big Fish Talent to book Rachel & other very talented folks, as well. Big Fish Talent works with actors, spokespeople, voice talent and much more!


Rachel’s most recent audiobook narration?  Guided Meditation for Weight Loss by 30-Minute Meditations. Available here on Amazon.

Microphone, Microphone….who art thou? By voice talent Rachel Alena

Voice Talent Rachel Alena talks shop about microphone basics…
I was at a party this past Labor Day weekend watching a friend’s band play. Being the voice talent that I am, I was chit chatting along with a good friend until I heard my name called. The bass playing/singer in the band asked me to come up. Join them for a song or two. How fun!

There was one mic for us to share because the other mic was being used by the guitar player. The plan? He’ll sing the lead and I’ll do the backup vocals. No problem! Like Simon and Garfunkel, but with a bass and much flatter hair.

We sang our hearts out. I could hear him next to me and through the monitors. I belted out my best Aretha-like backups but when the song was over…the crowd was yelling. They couldn’t hear me at all! What went wrong?

Well…microphone type has a lot to do with it.

Your choice in a microphone can really make a difference in sound quality.

The band used wonderful, unidirectional, cardioid microphones. They were gorgeous, looking like they came from a 1920’s radio station! Scott’s lovely voice was heard because he was standing directly IN FRONT of the microphone. I, however, was standing next to him. So, his unidirectional, cardioid mic couldn’t hear me. It’s designed to pick up only the sound directly in front of it and reject bleed from other voices and instruments.

For me, as a voice actor & singer, using the right microphone type is important.

Microphone types/lingo:

  • Condenser, Cardioid: Ideal for voice over work. It doesn’t pick up much sound from the side or back of the mic. More sensitive to loud sounds.
  • Omni Directional: Picks up more sound from all around.
  • Dynamic, Cardioid: Great stage mics. It also doesn’t pick up much sound from the side or back of the mic.
  • Super Cardioid: Picks up sound from behind the mic
  • Hypercardioid: Takes in sound from the back and less from the side. Good for noisy environments.
  • Bi-directional: Good for interviews since it picks up noise from both sides.
  • Shotgun mic, line mic or gradient mic: Good for film because it picks up voice but minimizes other sounds.

Do your research and pick your mic carefully based on what you’ll use it for.

Also, maybe, keep a dynamic Shure SM58 in the car. You never know….

because when your Simon and Garfunkel moment calls you up to that stage…

you and your microphone, will be ready.

She’s a talker! So far, in August and September 2017, Rachel has voiced projects for: Microsoft, Mundipharma, Zytiga, CheckInAsyst, Alliance Residential, Modern Teacher, Smart Milestones and 47 Mind Hacks for Writers!

What just dropped? 47 Mind Hacks for Writers. Audiobook narrated by Rachel Alena! Check it out.

Rachel is a national voice talent who brings over 20 years of experience in voice acting to her clients and students. She has voiced hundreds of narrations for clients such as Disney, Microsoft, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential. She also provides private voice over training for students all across the country. Her studio is located near Boulder, Colorado.

Be a super hero for your voice. Serve & protect.

X-ray vision? Soaring through the air? Voice care.

I can hear it already. ‘I’m not a singer or a voice talent. Why do I need to worry about voice care?’

Please allow me to share with you Margie’s story:

Margie came to me this past April. She is a teacher and an amazing woman, really. At the time, she was volunteering with underprivileged children. Teaching them for free after her full days of work. She was also leading seminars teaching other teachers. Margie came to my voice acting studio because she wanted to be an audiobook narrator. Simple enough. Her dream was to turn her love for reading into something more!

We recorded her voice. During play-back, though, we found something unexpected. It was a scratchy sound in the mid-range of her voice. Uh oh.

This was a rough one. Margie had dreams of doing audiobook narration work. She also had pretty serious vocal damage. Damage that needed to be corrected. This needed to happen BEFORE she could consider doing voice acting work. Damage that needed to be fixed if she wanted to continue leading seminars, long-term, without doing further damage to her voice.

Instead of working to become a book narrator, Margie had to began the journey of repairing her voice.

Since then, I’ve worked with other corporate speakers teaching them how to protect their voices. I’ve also had to look at my own voice care. I record for hours daily. I sing on most weekends. How much can my voice handle? Am I supporting it enough? What else can I do to maintain it? Am I over using it?

What is the voice?

The larynx, commonly called the “voice box,” is made up of muscle, cartilage, and connective tissue.

Here are some things you can do to take care of your voice:

Breath support

Your voice can’t do it alone! It needs the full support of your diaphragm muscles to work properly. How do you know if you’re using proper breath support?

  • Stand in front of a mirror.
  • Take in a deep breath.
  • Watch your shoulders. Do they move up and down? If they do, you are using shallow breathing which does not support your voice.
  • Work to breath lower from your diaphragm.

Articulation and mouth placement support

‘Rubber baby buggy bumper?’ ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers?’

There’s a reason actors and singers talk to themselves before the show! Stretch and prepare your facial structure. Mouth placement helps to take care of your voice by relieving some strain from the vocal chords.

Warm it up!

Would you run sprints daily without warming up your quads and hamstrings? No. Not if you didn’t want to be in pain.

Just like the muscle of the voice, strain can occur if you don’t warm up properly. Say, yes to ‘aaaaaaa, eeeeee, ah ah ah ah, oh oh oh oh, ew ew ew ew!’

Go ahead. Be a super hero. Protect and serve that voice!

Rachel Alena’s latest audiobook is about to release! Check it out here at Amazon, 47 Mind Hacks for Writers.

She is a national voice talent who brings over 20 years of experience in voice acting to her clients and students. She has voiced hundreds of narrations for clients such as Disney, Microsoft, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential. She also provides private voice over training for students all across the country. Her studio is located near Boulder, Colorado.

That announcer guy…

 

Voice Acting? Here’s little history….

Back in the early 90’s, I was working at the Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles and working as a session singer. I sang songs for writers to pitch to major recording artists.

At that time, it was extremely difficult to break into the voice acting biz. Only a lucky select group of voice actors, the likes of Don LaFontaine, were able to achieve the dream and they had to live near the major markets! In the 80’s and 90’s that deep ‘announcer’ voice was the big thing. In fact, the bigger, the better!

Things started to change, though. In the early 90’s, the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was introduced.  ISDN allowed folks to digitally transmit voice over the phone lines! Now, major players could record outside of major network/radio stations and studios. While it was still difficult to break in, smaller studios and radio stations started gaining more access and control. 

Well, now, we all know what happened from there…

Poof! Just like that computers and the internet were born! We became a digital world. And, guess what? 

First of all, that announcer voice that everyone loved, lost a bit of its allure. Personally, I think it’s because the world became more connected and people wanted to relate to the voice over.

What do you think? 

Take a listen yourself. Listen to FM radio next time you hop in your car. Yep. Most of the v.o. talent sound like the guy/gal living next door. That’s on purpose!

Also, we’ve seen a boom in the quantity and types of v.o. work that’s out there. For example, in the past year alone I’ve done voice acting on:

  • Audiobooks
  • Radio Commercials
  • Television Commercials
  • Corporate Tutorials
  • Web Videos
  • eLearning
  • Animations
  • Children Interactive Toys
  • Apps
  • Award Ceremony Narration, and more

What’s coming next in the voice over world? It’s hard to say. Some think we may be replaced by ‘Siri’-like digitized voice overs. Maybe, but I’m not sold on that just yet. Because, I believe in the power of a good connection. And, of course, the power of a good announcer every once in a while, too. 

Just for old time sake.

Rachel Alena, a national voice talent, brings 20 years of experience in voice acting to her students. She has voiced hundreds of narrations for clients such as Disney, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential. She also provides private voice over training for students all across the country. Her studio is located near Boulder, Colorado.