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the NEW big 3

the_new_big_3

There are certain times in your life when you should NOT do that math. This occurred to me the other day when I was puttering around the office doing some stuff and I noticed my membership directory from Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives (BNSME). This year will mark my 20th anniversary as a member. That means I was 25 years old when I joined in 1989. This is the kind of math avoidance I am advocating.

I am also advocating that you join myself and Todd Salansky, CEO, online thymes llc, for our May 18, 2009 BNSME presentation entitled “The New Big Three – What’s In It For Me”. The presentation will take place at the 31 Club, 31 N Johnson Park in Buffalo and is sponsored by Days Inn, Wingate by Wyndham, West Herr Automotive Group, Business First and Sound Video Solutions.

The goal of the presentation is to help participants understanding and applying Facebook®, LinkedIn® and Twitter® for their businesses as explained not by two experts (though Todd really knows his Social Media “stuff”) but rather by two active and practiced users of these services and Social Media in general.

By sharing an overview of the services, an explanation of how Todd and myself are using them to the advantage of our businesses and then offering participants a hands on tour of the services, we hope to remove the apprehension some people have experienced about Social Media and provide practical ways business owners can actively and successfully use these services as part of their marketing mix.

If you can join us, I think you’ll enjoy the presentation and some great in-person networking too. For reservations, please call Jeanne at the BNSME office at 716-662-2279.

when free isn’t free – voice punch

boxing_punch

There’s a new pay-to-play site for voice over talents that I was clued into by Dave Courvoisier’s blog.The pay-to-play directory is called Voice Punch and it bills itself as “A Voice Overs Talent and Voiceover Resource Directory.”

I should have heeded my internal warning signal when I saw the grammatically odd, clearly key-worded “Voice Overs Talent”. The industry standard is either “voice over talent” or voice overs”.

As I saw “Find a voice over talent in our free industry directory …” I figured I better get my free listing.

Nope, they fibbed. It ain’t free. You can search it for free but you can’t be in it for free.

Once I registered and they got my contact info, they informed me of the prices. Hmmm, that smells a bit funny too. Their terms of service does not say that would sell my info to a third party BUT it doesn’t say it won’t either (selling mailing lists is another way to make money of these types of sites).

OK, so these kids want to make a buck; I’m a capitalist so I’m fine with that…..I think sites like these are a waste of money for voice talents but by and large I am not their target. These guys want to target newbies, I’m guessing…people who are just starting to get into voice over and don’t know how to market themselves; people who’ve not been through the pay-to-play ringer.

How do I know? The pricing plan is what I based my opinion on. If you join for $99 you get a year-long listing with no audio demos (kind of useless for a voice talent). At $129, you get one audio upload per year and it kind of goes down hill from there.

The listings are a little light right now but the site is new. There seems to be male voice talents named “Monica” and “Jeanni” in the directory but save for one name, I’ve not seen anyone I’ve known of in the industry listed yet.

My bias against pay-to-play sites has been well documented. I’ve not seen anything on Voice Punch that would encourage me to alter my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

audio’connell in milwaukee

Lori Lins Talent Management

A quick trip to Milwaukee on Friday for some biz that went successfully.

On the way to the airport, I had a bit of extra time that provided a nice cushion before my plane left so I GPS’d (on the great i-phone) the office of my voice over agent in Milwaukee, Lori Lins of (not surprisingly) Lori Lins Limited Talent Management. We partnered in 2007 but I had never met her and only communicated via email. As the stars seemed to align on this trip, I stopped by unannounced just to say hi.

Had they said they were busy or otherwise occupied, I would have been cool with that as mine was a bit of a drive-by. But Lori came right out to greet me and we chatted for a good 15 minutes about my career, her agency and the VO business in general.

Naturally, I forgot my camera in the car (stupid!) so I didn’t get a picture with Lori but the quick shot in the blog spot through the passenger window of my rental car (again, courtesy i-phone) at least proves I was there.

My thanks to Lori and her staff for being so gracious. And Lori, Nancy Wolfson says hi via Twitter.

twitter picks you up at the airport

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Today my friend and client Leesa Barnes came to Buffalo to speak at a lunch seminar hosted by the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives. She didn’t come in from her hometown Toronto either, she flew in via Las Vegas having attended and presented at the National Association of Broadcasters convention there.

Having gone through airplane connection hell in her travels back, Leesa tweeted me this AM asking if I would be able to pick her up at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. After we agreed to the fare… (just kidding!)

Glad to see her in action, presenting “Be Marketing Fit: 3 Ways to Get Active Using Social Media”. The 30+ in attendance really enjoyed her content as did I.

Leesa and I first met up in Toronto when Social Media and Social Networking were first starting via an international on-line networking group called Ryze. The Toronto Ryze chapter actually had in-person meetings and I would go up to TO and make contacts. That group eventually faded away.

Then she told me about the first Podcamp Toronto, which was great. Subsequently I’ve done voice over work for her podcasting clients and her podcasts as well.

But there you have another use for Twitter and Social Media…hailing a cab, or a ride anyway, from the airport. Monetize that, pal! 🙂

voice talents miss the boat

linkedin_icon

I was doing some email blasts this week and sorting through my various databases, one of which is LinkedIn. Unlike a lot of social media tools, LinkedIn allows users to download the contact information of those you are directly connected with so you can communicate with them outside of LinkedIn.

As you might expect, a fair amount (but hardly all) of my contacts are voice talents. This email blast wasn’t for them so I was sorting them out by title out of my LinkedIn database when I came across an interesting pattern.

Many professional voice talents do not include the terms voice talent or voice over talent in their title on LinkedIn. They say things like “president” or “owner”. My guess would be that they also don’t do this on their business cards as well, though I can’t prove it. They are probably relying on their company name to tell the whole story.

This strikes me as a missed marketing opportunity. Here’s why:

1. Always be accurately introducing yourself to the world
– If you’re a plumber, tell the world so there’s no mistaking it; same if you’re a voice talent. Leave very little room for interpretation about whom you are professionally…people like clarity, especially in job titles. It’s just the way it is.

2. Always remind the search engines who you are – In organic search (the search results that aren’t paid for and just come up when you input certain words) you can never be sure how people are going to come across your personal brand or business. Anyone of your social media or pay-to-play web site listings could come up….consistency in your title could be helpful for the keywords in your organic rankings

3. Always be helpful to people doing database searches – Outside of my example, people do search their databases in a number of ways and for a number of reasons. One of them could be to find all the voice talents in their database to pick a voice. While it’s up to the user to decide what title they ultimately type in, you need to help them with a suggested title right under your name on your business card.

As for me, I’ve always had the best of both worlds because I am a voice talent and I provide a casting service for female voice talents and international voice talents. Peter K. O’Connell – President/Voice Talent.

Does this make sense or do you think I’m full of beans? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

before oprah or after oprah

oprah

People with a vested interest in any marketing tool tend to take it waaay to seriously sometimes. I understand why, to a point – it is how they make their living and they are also passionate about what they do. In that passion, sometimes we all go a bit overboard.

Which brings us today to the froth that continues – even after the weekend – over Ashton, Oprah and Twitter; I never really thought I’d write about two of those three on this blog but never say never.

Is Oprah (who had Ashton on her show last week after he broke the one million followers mark) going to ruin Twitter? Lots of back and forth on the net over this but I’ll summarize it in a word: no.

But as with all this “deep dive” nonsense comes someone with a bright idea and a good sense of humor which makes great fun of all of the discussion: herebeforeoprah.com. You type in your Twitter handle and it figures out if you were B.O. or A.O. in the Twitterverse.

Silly? Yes. A time-suck? Under a minute, but it’s a great way to make fun of the whole discussion and ourselves in the process.