By Samuel Hoffmeister | March 21, 2022
We know that simply adding video to your marketing strategy can be highly effective, but when it’s appropriate, including a voiceover in your video can offer even better engagement. Hearing a human voice can evoke emotional responses, provide more intimate experiences, and, thus, cultivate deeper connections with audiences.
Keep in mind that voiceovers aren’t always necessary or even right for every video; maybe your aim is to inspire with music to support a powerful visual. But say you’re looking to promote the latest issue of your publication or encourage registration for an upcoming online educational series. With a bit of learning and a basic understanding of what sounds good, you can master the art of the voiceover and seriously up your video game.
First, Decision Time
On your next video project, first consider how a voiceover could help (or hurt) the effectiveness of your message. Think about whether you need the viewer to listen to the video or if the message is clear enough without supporting narration. There isn’t necessarily a best practice here, but if you want your message to be short and sweet (often the case for social), perhaps a simple text overlay will do the job just fine. However, if you’re using video as a more informational medium or to garner a response, you may find the emotional nuance of voice bolsters your message.
How to Start
So, you’ve decided that a voiceover will improve your next video, but you’re new to the game. What equipment, software, and skills do you need? The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to get started.
It’s been found that audio quality is typically more important to viewers than video quality, so it’s probably wise to invest in a microphone (preferably, with a foam cover or a pop filter). There are plenty of options for under $100 that will help to cut out background noise and make your narrator sound clearer than they would with a built-in computer mic. Having a professional mic can also save you time spent refining the audio in the editing phase.
To further improve audio, you could also consider purchasing a mixer, which can take multiple audio inputs and fuse them into one for simpler editing. Like mics, plenty of mixers on the market are relatively inexpensive and can save time in post-production. Now, although a mixer isn’t absolutely necessary to deliver high-quality audio, if you’re churning out videos on a consistent, frequent basis—especially if you expand capabilities to utilize multiple voices in other media—a mixer could prove to be a worthy investment.
Software needs can be summed up in one word: free. Free programs such as GarageBand (for Mac users) and Audacity (compatible with any operating system) are easy to use, and neither has a super steep learning curve. You can record audio and edit it directly in both programs. Another option, also at no additional cost if you already have Adobe Creative Suite, is Adobe Audition. It gives you some more versatility with extras (sound effects, enhanced noise filtering, etc.), but those features are a bit more handy for long-form media like podcasts. It’s probably best to stick with one of the first two options for simple voiceovers.
Learning how to create clean voiceovers takes some time, but it’s worth the effort. One or two staff members could dedicate the hours to training, and for that, YouTube will be their best friend. There are countless online videos available that can teach you the ins and outs of setting yourself up for voiceover success. Encourage your designated experts-in-training to play around with the software, and make it fun. You might just find opportunities to expand your audio capabilities further (podcasts, improved webinars, more constructive learning modules, etc.).
When it comes to voiceovers, it’s all about the voice. The tone must always align with your message. For instance, if you’re trying to persuade a member to attend a virtual conference, you want to sound encouraging and inviting. Understand your audience and think about how it would respond to a certain tone and wording.
You’ll also want to hone your diction and pacing. If you’re reading from a script (you should be), make sure you know the right pronunciation of every word and speak distinctly and at a reasonable speed. Practice makes perfect—record yourself, play it back to yourself, and refine. Remember, your goal with a voiceover is to add a relatable emotional element to garner greater attention. Be professional, be on brand, be articulate, and be human.
We Can Help
Although YGS does not offer voiceover-only services, we are experienced with delivering effective video solutions that, when appropriate, include narration. If you’re looking for guidance on how to implement voiceovers into your video strategy, or if you need a partner to create a strategy, plan, or videos themselves, connect with us!
Whether you decide to take on voiceovers in house or choose a third-party expert, know that with a bit of know-how, practice, decent equipment, and thoughtful strategy, a little voice can go a long way toward ensuring your messages are heard—literally.