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buffalo and toronto voice talents, listen up

Maybe she’s been nearby before and I didn’t know it but more than likely I think this is the first time Marice Tobias has been in Toronto and my guess is it will be as close as she’s going to get to Buffalo, NY.

I really enjoyed studying with her previously…I hope you’ll take my advice and join her in Toronto on November 24 & 25, 2012 for her Voice-over Intensive for Working Pros. To learn more about the weekend, contact Stacey Stahl.

a public relations surprise

As has been noted in this space, I am a fan of Arby’s (though not of their new, hideous logo). So it was there last Friday I found myself having a pleasant lunch alone watching ESPN and reading the Buffalo News. I don’t get time to read the paper very often (yes I am old school, I do read the paper) so when I do get to read it, it’s a nice treat.

It was during this lunch and my reading that I came upon this little article…

As I noted in a Facebook post during that same lunch,

It is the STRANGEST experience to be reading the newspaper and completely unexpectedly come across one’s own name. I sent out a release some weeks ago and forgot about it. Then while scanning the paper just now…bam!

Well, at least it was good news.

I had completely forgot about the release I had written, I didn’t even follow up with the various editors to make sure they received it (breaking one of my own rules). So it was a bit like Christmas morning and the nice little gift was there before my eyes.

The joy lasted about a second until I read the article closely, after the fog of excitement had passed.

You may never have heard of an international spirits company called ‘Bicardi’; you may not know how well they are known for their rums. And that’s because there isn’t and they aren’t.

If you had said ‘did he mean Bacardi?’ the answer would be yes, not only did he mean Bacardi (as in the rum), he actually wrote Bacardi in this press release, same being offered up below in a scanned version of the very document sent to the newspaper (oh yes, I had that awful “what did I do?!” moment until I could call up the press release to see that I hadn’t made a typo):

So now what?!!

Well first, some perspective. It’s a big deal to me that they got this wrong. It deflates the media impact to potential clients who would read such a press announcement and might be impressed enough to hire me. That’s a real issue.

Worse for my fragile ego, my Jeffersonian-like wordsmithing of this release had the legs knocked out from underneath it because of a single typo. (To be clear, it’s probably closer to George than Thomas).

Now more perspective. It’s a newspaper with thousands of words and millions of letters…mistakes happen. Today it was my turn be sitting under the bird at the most inopportune and fairly public moment.

So I sent an email to the business editor, thanking him for publishing but pointing out the mistake and asking him if he would please re-publish the correct version in a future edition of the paper (it truly didn’t matter to me whether it was next week or next year).

The response I got was a polite no.

So what’s the point? Was there still any value to this press release or did the typo result in a wasted opportunity? What can be learned here?

The short answer is – it was out of my hands. Even if I had called to follow up on the release after I sent it (which I should have) that would not have precluded whomever typed in the story from making the typo and being too sloppy to fix it. I cannot control human error and having my own Master’s Degree in it, I suppose I cannot throw stones.

The value of the release was certainly muted to a large degree because of the branding typo by the newspaper but it was probably not all lost. For one thing, there are two other very prominent brands featured in the release and they spelled my name and the company name correctly.

Further, the editor noted that he fixed the error in the online version. This was kind of him to be sure but the down side is their web version newspaper is now paid only and I don’t think paid web subscriptions are lighting up the phone lines.

In the scheme of business, it is more disappointing and embarrassing to my brand than anything else. Not major harm was done but it does feel like a missed opportunity. But I take heart that this release is but a small part of my marketing efforts and those same efforts go alot further than the Nickel City. Onward and upward.

november is MOvember again!

Last November, a bunch of us voice-over talents got together to protest shaving. And we raised money doing it!

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

THIS IS MY FUND RAISING PAGE (was that bold enough for you?) If you can afford it, I’d be grateful for any donation.

At this point, our team includes our captain Jeffrey Kafer, Justin Barrett, Anthony Gettig and Dan Lenard who, it should be noted, will just be blatantly cheating if he doesn’t shave his mustache on November 1st (but we’re OK if he doesn’t shave it).

Speaking of cheating, the rules say we’re only supposed to grow mustaches but I always grow a goatee because I look ridiculous in a mustache. They still take my money…funny how that works 😉 .

If you are a professional male voice-over talent, you are welcome to join our team. Just register and then pick our team from the choices.

If you are female voice over talent or not in voice over and just want to donate, PLEASE DO.

We don’t care which one of us you donate to or you can donate just to the team. But let’s be honest, donate to me because I’m the coolest. Or hairiest. Or something-est.

my favorite voice-over websites! – doug turkel

Yes Doug is a long-time friend of mine but that’s not why he’s leading off this series. In fact, he doesn’t know I’m writing about his web site.

Well, I suppose he does now.

But look at that one picture of his web site and see if you can’t pretty much find out everything you need to know about Doug and his amazing voice-over work in about 3 seconds.

Want an easily accessible demo? Check!

Need a killer testimonial (or six)? Check!

Branding upfront? Done (well done)!

Got a phone number you can link to if you’re on a cell? Got it!

Blog link? Of course

Simplicity is the key. It is executed masterfully. I hate him for that. 😉

What is also annoying about Doug is that this is the SECOND amazing web design he’s pulled off. I don’t have a picture of his old site which was done in a brilliant, extreme close-up, comic book design; it really was terrific.

Point of fact, though: he outright stole from me the red, black, gray and white color motif…as did every other web site that uses the red, black, gray and white color motif. Rat bastards, all of y’all.

It was actually this redesign that made me realize that my old site design (which I still arrogantly love) did need to be brought up to speed with the changing technological world we live in. Doug cost me alot of money.

Look at the use of fonts on this site…spectacular and the buttons are awesome. It’s causing me, upon further reflection, to think about tweaking my site on one small item. So Doug will cost me even more money.

Upon even further reflection, you should only look at this site for ideas if you have enough money in the bank.

You’ll have to excuse me now as I have to go sell one of my kidneys on ebay.

a new blog series – my favorite voice-over web sites

The other day when I was writing my FaffCon thank you blog post, I tried to take a look at every voice-over web site that I linked to.

Some had no web sites (didn’t need them I guess, no rule says you HAVE to have one) some had what I would consider an OK web site and some had web sites that really caught my eye, that I thought really conveyed the brand well. These sites were unique in design and that just clicked with me.

It got me to thinking that there are more than a few voice-over web sites that I’ve always admired for different reasons. So what I thought what I’d do is occasional blog feature one here that maybe would give you an idea or two for your web site (not that anyone in voice-over has ever stolen a web idea or three from a peer) and just generally give you an appreciation for some good design.

Let’s be clear…I don’t need help, I don’t nominations and if you beg, you’re banished. When I find them and I like them, I’ll write about them. It may take me a long time to find yours or your design may not click with me. That makes neither you or me a bad person…well I may be a bad person but that has nothing to do with this series.

Remember also, good design does not always translate into good Search Engine Optimization, which is really where the game is played. Somebody may have a dog ugly web site which is pristinely optimized and somebody else might have an amazing design that search engines ignore. Not for the first time in my life, I’d go ugly.

So with all that out of the way, I hope you enjoy the occasional peeks into voice-over web site greatness (in my opinion).

the new linkedin “recommendation” or “like”?

A few weeks ago, I started getting email notices from LinkedIn that some people had endorsed me. A lot of people. I have received LinkedIn endorsements before (and thank you) but clearly something was up.

If you have been on LinkedIn at all, you’ve probably seen or more likely received recommendations or endorsements from people who want to publicly compliment you on the work you do or have done for them. They would write something professionally kind, note three things that you excel at and then you would receive the notification. It’s a lot like a personal reference with someone writing it but with LinkedIn, you’d have the opportunity to approve, request and amendment and publish.

But I was suddenly getting so many! Had I gone viral? What did I do?

Well it seems that LinkedIn, bowing to the Facebook “Like” phenomenon, had changed from the more thoughtful recommendations of old to a quick hit kind of “like” button.

Let me be clear–I am completely and utterly grateful for anyone who would take time out of their day in even a superficial social media way to say something nice about me. And I am glad to do the same for others who are deserving (oh yes, I’ve had people actually ask me to endorse them on LinkedIn in the old format–that was a unique situation at times).

But as grateful as I am (and I am) I liked the old LinkedIn recommendation system better. And it’s truly not because I don’t like change.

It took more time and thought for someone to write out a LinkedIn recommendation in the old format and so to me, what was written about me and what I read on other people’s pages carried more weight and was more important. It had a bit of gravitas.

Now, it seems to me to be just a bit frivolous and not as professional. And to me, LinkedIn’s point of difference versus any other social media channel was its professionalism. The people at Sambla seem to agree, you can read their post in Swedish which essentially says the same thing here.

What do you think? Am I overthinking this or were you thinking the same thing?