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How to Choose the Right Voiceover Artist for your Explainer Video

Choosing a voiceover artist is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make when creating your explainer video. After all, you’re choosing the voice of your brand! So it’s super-important that you get it right.

The problem with “getting it right” is that voice is subjective. What sounds like the honeyed voice of an angel to me could sound like nails on a chalkboard to you. But, before you collapse under the pressure of this decision, you need to remember that your entire explainer video is also subjective – in a sense.

Your brand, product, or service isn’t going to appeal to everyone, so when it’s time to choose the right voiceover artist for your explainer video, you need to put your audience at the front of your mind.

What do they want to hear? What voice appeals to them?

Take a look at a recent video we made about factors to consider when it comes to choosing a voiceover artist:

That’s a lot of information to digest in two and a half minutes! So, let’s break it down. Here are the 4 most important factors to consider when choosing a voiceover artist for your explainer video…

1. Gender

Gender seems to be the hottest topic when it comes to choosing a voiceover artist. For some products or brands, that are exclusively branded at one gender, this is an easy decision to make.

Here is a recent video we created for electrolysis brand, Limoges Beauty:

As removal of unwanted hair is primarily a female problem, Limoges Beauty chose a female voiceover that their audience would be able to relate to.

Likewise (and sticking with the hair removal theme!), here’s an explainer video for Dollar Shave Club:

Although this is more of a walk-through than a voiceover, all of the information given to us as viewers is from a male perspective. This makes perfect sense considering the Dollar Shave Club product is aimed at men!

However, when your product, brand, or service is neutral, selecting the gender of your voiceover artist becomes a whole lot trickier. Luckily, several studies have been done on the subject that can help you come to an informed decision.

At the end of the day, it’s all about choosing the artist that feels right for you and your product, brand, or service, regardless of gender.

In a study by AdWeek Media that surveyed thousands of people, 46% of respondents agreed that females sounded more soothing. This stat was backed up by veteran voiceover artist, Debbie Grattan, who said:

Because females tend to be the more nurturing gender by nature, their voices are often perceived as a helper, more compassionate, understanding, and non-threatening. This can be important in instructional videos…as well as commercial spots (conveying a less aggressive, more persuasive approach.)

The same study also found that 48% of respondents felt that males sounded more forceful. With 28% agreeing that a male voice was “more likely to sell me a car“.

2. Accent

Similar to gender, the accent of your voiceover artist should be relatable to your audience. If you’re a local business, then you should choose a voiceover artist with a local accent to represent you. Additionally, if all of your clients are in the UK or the USA, then it would be best to select a voiceover artist that represents the country you trade in.

But this isn’t all about relatability. Different accents can evoke different responses from us. As Toria said in the video above, we associate accents with different levels of friendliness, or as being more educated than others. So the image of your brand also needs to come into this decision.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

KPMG is a thought-leader in their industry and does the majority of their work in the USA. As such, the voiceover artist for this ad is an older, authoritative-sounding, all-American gentleman.

Irn Bru couldn’t be further from KPMG. It’s a Scottish drink with a fun brand, and although this video doesn’t feature a voiceover, this is reflected through the accents of the actors.

3. Tone of Voice

We all know the saying, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” Although no one really likes to hear this, it’s true! The way that we say something matters, it has an influence on the listener.

When it comes to choosing the right voiceover artist for your explainer video, don’t be afraid to advise him or her on exactly how you want them to speak. The tone of your brand needs to shine through in the voiceover.

If your brand is easy-going and doesn’t take itself too seriously, then ask your voiceover to have a little fun with the way they speak, like this:

If your brand is corporate and straight-laced, then you might ask your voiceover to speak in a clear, neutral but authoritative tone, like this:

4. Speed & Pace

It’s important that you get the speed and pace of your voiceover correct for many reasons. Viewers need to be able to follow your story and be engaged by it, while at the same time have enough time to digest your message without getting bored. That’s a tall order!

Although this post is about choosing the right voiceover, the speed and pace is actually determined by your script. If you want your video to come out at 90 seconds, then you need to make sure that you don’t cram your script with too much information.

An industry standard for animated videos is 130-140 words of voiceover text = 60 seconds of animated video. Having said that, it is vital that your action on screen matches the voiceover. You can’t ask the voiceover artist to say “and then” and expect the animator to cram tons of icons on screen at the same time, because that will create a HUGE pause in the pacing of your video. Your script should be a tool that helps the voiceover artist do their job.

A Note on D.I.Y.

If your budget is tight, then you can try and record your voiceover in-house. All you will need is a member of staff with an expressive voice, a quiet location, and a great microphone.

Make sure your quiet room is situated well away from even the slightest noise. Digital microphones are unfortunately very good at picking up street sounds, even through double-glazing, and the hum of a computer on the other side of the room can sound like a helicopter taking off. Trying to record in a busy environment is frustrating and can be a very slow process, so take the time to find somewhere private as well.

If you don’t already have a great microphone, then the costs can largely vary from £50 all the way up to £200+. When you weigh up the cost and effort of a D.I.Y recording, it can sometimes be less expensive to go with a professional. And if your explainer video is being made by an agency then the voiceover may even be included in the price!

Final Thoughts

Choosing a voiceover for your explainer video is a big decision, but hopefully the information in this article will help you feel more confident in doing so. Just remember, the most important factors to consider are:

  • Gender
  • Accent
  • Tone of Voice
  • Speed & Pace

If you’ve chosen Wyzowl to create your animated explainer video, then you don’t need to worry. We have lots of different voiceover artists on our roster.

Samantha Ferguson

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