Entries Tagged as 'marketing'

what does your web site look like?

Peter K. O'Connell Web Site Layout

My oldest needed some “mall therapy” last night so we walked through a variety of stores that sold stuff nobody really needed but some folks thought they wanted.

We walked through the Apple store looking at all the new fangled devices and then I did the thing that all Fathers like to do to their children.

I embarrassed my child.

What I did was open the browser on different models of computers: big ones, small ones, portable ones…all of them, then typed in my voiceover web site domain.

She found it embarrassing partly because it was my web site on these screens and partly because I’m her Father and this was in a mall and Daaaaaaaaa!

My purpose actually wasn’t to embarrass anyone but rather to check and see how my web site looked on a variety of different screens with updated software.

See, we all assume our website designs and layouts look good everywhere because that what the designers say and that’s what they are supposed to do….look good everywhere.

But technology changes and sometimes upgrades on different computers and devices can alter the look of a website in ways you don’t expect.

So next time you are in an Apple store or Microsoft store or Best Buy or someplace that shows a variety of different screens and allows you to surf the web, surf to your own web site.

Make sure it looks and interacts the way it’s supposed to. If it works perfectly well, then you don’t need to do a thing.

If not, make whatever changes you need to keep it updated.

I’m sure you’d rather know about a problem now than find out about the issue from a prospective or current client.

voiceover business card story

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Business Card

Over the weekend, audio producer Brad Newman was evidently looking at all the business cards he collected at FaffCon 9.

He saw that I had not one but two new business card designs.

He posted a picture on social media and it started a discussion because folks had questions. Why the two cards? Why the different designs? Why didn’t Minnesota beat the Yankees in the wild card series? Lots of questions.

So I thought I would do a quick overview on the two cards which will also bring you up to speed on my marketing changes (if you’re some kind of marketing stalker).

OLD CARD

  • 2017 O'Connell Business Card Old The relatively cheaper old cards were crafted while I was trying to get some new, fancier cards made
  • My original goal was to update all my voiceover branding since I moved to North Carolina; I would adopt the dark blue light blue scheme that was a tip of the hat to the University of North Carolina’s color scheme (not exactly like theirs but in the family)
  • I also had a graphic idea for really highlighting the phrase “Voice Over Talent” and explaining the type of work that involves (because I’ve had to continuously explain what a voiceover does for 35+ years)
  • I was trying to do a plastic card, as I had done before with cards I did while in Buffalo, but my old vendor screwed up the new blue design TWICE and after that, he got fired
  • You’d be surprised at what a complete pain in the butt it is to try and RGB and PMS color match light blues – ridiculous
  • For the old cards, I found a vendor who did the thick paper cards who also painted the sides
  • He could not do a PMS color do I got stuck with that crazy bright blue
  • The weight of the card was really nice as was the painted edge
  • As nobody else was going to be as bothered by the color situation on the old card as I was…I lived with that old card for a while

As time went on, I knew I wasn’t happy with the old card and, even more so, with the word mark itself which I felt needed help.

As much as I liked the word mark font on the old card, the full word mark did not make the brand name (which happens to be my name) stand out. I wanted a font for the brand name that looked personalized, which would then be supported by the tag line in that font I used on the old word mark.

I could have tried actually printing my name and making that part of the logo, except my printing Sucks with a capital S.

So I look at thousands (truly thousands) of hand script fonts that conveyed friendly, fun and masculine.

Trying to find a masculine looking hand script font that also doesn’t look like it was written by some kind of angry demon is not as easy as you’d think.

Remember, I was trying to convey friendly to support the tag line “Your Friendly, Neighborhood Voiceover Talent”. Worse some of the “male” based script font sure looked awfully girly to me and many of my voiceover peers, whose opinions I sought throughout this process.

Two things then happened kind of simultaneously. I found the font I really liked for the brand and I found a new vendor for printing the plastic cards. It would look good but it would not be cheap.

NEW CARD

  • 2017 O'Connell Business Card NewWorking with the new brand font and old tagline font within the blues color scheme, my designer came up with the logo idea of making everything flush right…I thought it worked really well, so I carried that thought through on the front of the business card where everything is flush right
  • I tried to make the font sizes bigger….small font size may be cool but readability is where it’s at for business cards and my eyes are getting old – bigger font size and a bit bolder
  • My designer also PATIENTLY helped me narrow down my PMS color choices…she deserves combat pay for babysitting me through that debacle
  • I really liked the way the back of the card (all dark blue with white VOICE OVER TALENT) worked on the old card so kept it on the back of the new card
  • The card size as you may have noticed is bigger than the old card…it is credit card size
  • I added a clear coating on all the front and on the white VOICE OVER TALENT…really makes a nice impact

So then why did I bring two sets of cards to FaffCon? Well I didn’t really. I brought mostly the old cards to distribute because I wanted to get rid of them and my peers aren’t likely to be as impacted by my card design as real prospects. I handed out a few of the (expensive) new ones to a few Faffers.

Now you know more about my business cards than you ever wanted to…hope this helps.

check your mail, you may already be a winner

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Want Ad 2017Ok, well there’s actually nothing to win but certainly check your mail!

And maybe you already have, which is why you’re checking out this page. Welcome to my voiceover blog.

If we haven’t properly met yet, hi, I’m Peter.

Yes, I sent out a new direct mail postcard this week to about 900 of my media production peers who work in audio production, TV and radio production, TV promo, explainer video production, documentaries and darn near every other kind of electronic production worldwide that uses voiceover.

I hadn’t done a mailer in a while, and with this year being my 35 anniversary in voiceover, I figured that’s something to talk about on a big postcard.

Why direct mail?

People still love getting unique stuff in the mail, even an oversized postcard. It’s a reminder to those I’ve worked with before that I’m still around (give me a call). It’s also an introduction to folks who may have heard of me (or may not have heard of me) but might need some professional voice talent help – the card is a friendly hello (give me a call) to them as well.

I’ll still do email blasts every now and again but I fear those don’t get read as much as they used to…my open rates are still good and I keep the message short and sweet!

So if you’re just finding me for the first time, hi (welcome!), and if you’re returning, hi again and thanks for coming back.

Oh and if you do need to call me, I’m on +01 716-572-1800.

twitter screws with your branding again

Peter K. O'Connell Twitter Graphic CHange

You probably didn’t get the memo.

Or if you’re like me (and God help you if you are), you kinda noticed something different on your Twitter profile but ignored it and moved on…until you DID notice it.

Twitter changed the layout of your profile, not a ton but juuuust enough to screw with your branding.

The little profile picture on your Twitter profile, you know, the one the shows up next to every tweet? The size of that got changed last week.

It used to be a square and now it’s a circle.

Big deal, you say? Who cares, you say?

Well maybe it’s not Armageddon, but depending on the size of your profile picture, the image may have gotten cut off, leaving your branding looking a bit sloppier than you may prefer. Prospects look at social media accounts and judge you on your branding. Just like you judge others on their branding.

Now is it a bigger deal for you?

The fix is easy enough (just more unnecessary work). Take your original picture and make it a bit smaller so the rounded edges of the new circle don’t cut off your image.

Then re-upload the pic to Twitter, resize if necessary and save.

Then wait for some body else at Twitter to unnecessarily change something else without letting you know.

Hope this helps.

is it the marketing or am I just an old fart?

Dick tracy watchAfter what I consider a slow start, I am seeing more and more Apple wrist watches.

These watches are almost what the Dick Tracy comics of yesteryear predicted would be on people’s wrists.

Only better.

And more expensive.

You can check mail, messages, music, your heartbeat and steps and, somewhere in there, you figure out what time it is.

In short, the super cool techie stuff about this wristwatch should mean I should have one by now.

Checklist item #1: It’s a tech gadget and it works with my other tech gadgets

Checklist item #2: It’s an Apple product and I already have a bunch of those so the watch and those devices could work together…ah synergy!

Checklist item #3: Range of pricing means I wouldn’t have to spend a ton to get one

Checklist item #4: I collect wrist watches – I have for years and have all kinds – this item should be right up my alley

And yet I have not purchased the Apple Watch and really haven’t had any desire to do so. None.

So what’s wrong with me?

Well plenty, but for this post let’s just focus on why I don’t feel the need for an Apple Watch.

Watches 1970 2017When I see the Apple Watch, my mind drifts back to the 1970’s and the new (to that time) LED display watches that were all the rage.

These watches looked like ordinary watches except the face was completely black. To see the time you had to use your other hand to press a button on the wrist watch and up would pop an red LED display of the time. Or date. And that’s pretty much it.

These watches were initially selling for hundreds and thousands of dollars and even as a grammar school student I was obsessed with them. I saw those watches and HAD to have one.

Now folks, I need to be clear, the technology in these watches was minimal. What you see today in an LED display was what was in these watches. That. Was. It.

Somebody in China must have made billions off the stupid Americans. More power to them – that’s just good old consumer marketing.

My parents got me a very cheap version of an LED display watch and I thought I was the coolest kid around.

But I realized soon just how stupid this was – now I needed an extra had just to tell time. I couldn’t just look at my wrist, I needed my other hand to reach over to its opposite wrist and press a button. Where is the convenience in that?!

So now, when I see the Apple Wrist Watch, that’s what I think: where the convenience in that?

I’ve already got a phone that does everything the Watch does (and more) on a larger screen. Plus with the watches I have, I don’t have to recharge them like you do with an Apple Watch.

But my demographic profile and socio-economic status says I should want, nay, need an Apple Watch.

Is this this me being an old fuddy-duddy? Or am I being smart?

You’ll have to let me know because, as usual, I have no idea.

3 Steps to Fix Your Twitter (maybe 4)

Fixing Twitter For Voiceover TalentsMaybe Twitter is working just fine for your voiceover business.

More likely, though, you don’t really have a focused business purpose for Twitter.

Twitter is designed to be very customized so even if two voice talents compared their Twitter feeds, likely it would be different…please don’t worry that you are doing it wrong. You’re not.

But you may be able to do Twitter more efficiently.

If you’re just looking at Twitter for fun, you don’t need a plan. But it’s also, in my opinion, kind of a waste of your business day if you spend any time there.

Should you want to use Twitter for a myriad of voiceover business objectives, putting some thought into it will help you make sense of Twitter and make it work for you.

‘But Peter,’ you whine, ‘this sounds like work.’

Yes there’s some work involved. We are talking about Twitter as business tool, you tool!

Relax, though, as I’m going to chart a course for you to help you think all this through.

I’ll also give some examples of what I do so you can either copy some of what I do on Twitter or run fast in the opposite direction…but at least you’ll have a plan!!

Peter K. O'Connell Twitter

  1. Decide what you need Twitter to do for you?

The assumption here is that you want to do more with Twitter than just play. You likely want to have some kind of objective, like:

  • I want to network
    • It could be with prospects, clients or your fellow voice pros
  • I want to be educated
    • I want to learn about industry trends (mine or the business categories I work with most); new technologies, or even social media trends from people smarter than you or me
  • I want to stalk
    • In a business way, not a creepy way – most likely involving prospects or current clients (maybe also your peers) as a way to learn about what topics, trends or observations are important to them — you DO already follow all your clients on social media, right?!

You may want to do one, some or all of these things and that’s OK. You may even want to execute something totally different. But as you look at your current and future Twitter connections, I would advise that you identify and follow your custom objectives with a specific agenda in mind because I think it will help you moving forward

  1. Identify your top Twitter targets

You want to network? OK, but with whom and to what end?

You want to be educated? OK, but what about and with whom do you want to achieve that knowledge?

You want to stalk? Which prospects do you want to follow and what do you want to achieve (awareness, new business, a referral)? Are they specific people or a category of folks?

Just following someone on Twitter is simple. And not likely to move the business or educational needle terribly far.

It would also be wonderful if these folks you followed on Twitter would follow you back, but that’s not a given. They might not initially be interested in you, as people don’t immediately follow back on Twitter like they used to do. Or they might not pay a ton of attention to Twitter. Everybody and company uses social media in different ways.

The point being you should have a kind of mental strategy about what you want to achieve with Twitter targets.

Twitter listsIf you can’t fathom a strategy quite yet, that does NOT mean you should not move forward with Twitter. You can at least get your ‘followers’ list organized and Twitter has a great internal tool for that.

It’s called Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists allow you to create your own lists within your entire list of the people you are following. You can also subscribe to lists created by others.

How is that helpful to you?

Viewing a timeline of just people from a specific list will show you a stream of Tweets only from the Twitter accounts on that list. While there can be some benefit to subscribing to other people’s lists, I personally just focus on lists I have created – occasionally checking other lists to see if I’ve missed somebody in a category.

For example, voice talents are always looking to get on voice talent rosters of audio production companies. How many audio production companies are you already following? How many are following you? (If you’re not sure, check out follow tools like http://unfollowerstats.com/).

My recommendation is that you create a Twitter List of Audio Production Companies and tag all your current connections to that list (a list as big or small a list as you want).

Then figure out what other lists you’d like to curate on your Twitter account (you can have one Twitter connection on more than one list if you like, it’s your list!). Again, this is valuable because with this list, you can see only the Tweets of those on the list. This is a big time saver, a great way to see customized conversations and trends — and all of it leading to the next big fix.

  1. Tweet thoughtfully

For some folks, the idea of Tweeting is truly butt clenching, for fear of not knowing what to say. For some folks, they just type what ever is on their minds (often proving they have nothing to say).

If you have focused on what you want to get out of Twitter (step #1) and from which audience you want to interact with (step #2), step 3 shouldn’t be as challenging and you won’t come off a s a moron (see above folks with “nothing to say”).

Rule #1 on Tweeting thoughtfully is to remember to treat each tweet like you’re speaking to a person…don’t be intimidated by 140 characters…just be you, for lack of a better term. Don’t “act” like an expert, your content will prove your expertise.

Rule #2 is tweet like you would like to be spoke to. For example: what do you like hear?

  • You like to be sincerely complimented
    • You can simply “like” a Tweet by somebody on one of your list (they’ll likely be notified of your like and may check out your Twitter profile – make sure that your profile page is updated and looks nice)
    • You can send someone on your list a compliment on their Tweet – throw something personal in there, more than “nice Tweet” or “thanks”
    • You can share the Tweet with your audience (people whose Tweets get shared usually get notified about that and it may help you get followed back)
  • You like to learn new things
    • If someone on your list has shared something that you really like, say thanks but tell them why it was helpful
    • You might try doing this via “direct message” on Twitter, and a conversation might ensue
  • You like to share things that are interesting to you and that you think others also my find interesting
    • So share what you like – if they don’t like it or aren’t interested, it’s no crime, people will move on and not think worse of you

The bottom line is you MUST offer content (i.e. Tweet) for people to begin to notice you but it’s best not to just Tweet for Tweeting sake – offer a thoughtful content that reflects who you are either professionally or even personally if you’re comfortable doing that

Make Friends First AudioconnellRule #3 would be don’t sell. This is more my rule than anything else but I have not seen one example of someone actually selling via a Tweet and people buying, at least not in voiceover.

At the very least, be indirect. For example: “I’m really excited that my new commercial #voiceover demo is done. If you like, check it out at www.audioconnell.com

When it comes to tone on Twitter (or Social Media or Life) my rule is to at least attempt to talk with people, not at them.

SO now what? What’s the follow up after I do all this?

Well, what you’ve done by creating these lists is you’ve got the start of a database. People you can learn from; connect with and possibly get some business done. So craft a plan to do something with all this information. Like what?

For example, from the aforementioned list of audio production companies, why not go to their Twitter account, click on their web site link and gather some contact data to put in your company database. Then send them a letter, introducing yourself and your information- maybe request to be added to their voiceover roster. Then a few days later, follow up by phone.

Did Twitter just become a lead generation tool for your business? That’s for YOU to decide.

Hope this helps.