As with many other industries, the internet ushered in some big changes to the world of voiceover, with one of the biggest being the emergence of Online Casting Sites, also known as P2P (Pay-to-Play) sites. While there are varying opinions of these types of sites, the fact remains that they are an incredibly valid source of VO work and are something that should at least be explored, if not adamantly pursued by voiceover talent. While you could simply type up a quick bio, upload a photo and your demo, and hope for the best - there are a few things you can do to take your profiles on these sites further, and increase your visibility and chances for success. Let’s take a look at what they are.
You can download a free profile template, to use as a checklist for the content and organization of your own P2P profiles by clicking the "Resource Package" button at the bottom of the post.
Purpose of a Profile
Before we dive into what you should be including in your profiles and how to optimize them, it’s important to first highlight what the main point of these profiles even is.
In theory, you can get work on these sites with no profile at all. Since you get a job notification, submit an audition and proposal, and if the client likes it, they could just hire you right then without ever needing to see your profile. But don’t be fooled into thinking that a profile on these sites is just a minor detail or “add-on”.
Your profile on a casting site should not be your “Home Base” for your VO career on the internet, rather it should be an extension of your brand and career onto these platforms.
The main purpose of them is to do the following:
Confirm your credibility and worthiness to already interested clients who are viewing your profile.
Help you turn up in search results for search queries conducted on the site.
Now let’s look at the specific components that make up a profile, and some best practices for them.
Your demo reels are the most essential part of your casting site profiles. After all, clients will be looking to hire you for your voice. Hear the main things to keep in mind regarding demos on your profile.
Always list your most relevant and best demo first, or set it as your “Featured” demo. For most people, this will be a Commercial Demo. But if you’re a fantastic character talent, then lead off with your Character Reel. If your niche is corporate narration and e-learning, then feature your Narration Reel, etc….
List as many demos as you have. Many of these casting sites use demos as a way to populate their search results and you want to have as many as possible to have the best chances of being found. Don’t re-upload the same demo 10 times with a different name or anything like that, as coming up in the search results with an irrelevant demo to what was searched for won’t likely do you any favors. But you do want to have as many reels as possible, in as many categories as possible present.
After you upload your demos, don’t forget to tag and categorize them! By associating key terms with your demo, you improve the chances of it showing up in search results when those key terms are searched for. Always fill in as many terms as possible too. If you are allowed to select 10 terms to describe your demo (Upbeat, Friendly, Corporate, etc…) then pick 10! Also, try not to pick the same 10 for every demo you have. It’s a good idea to have a couple key terms that really apply to you on multiple demos (for example, if you nail a “Corporate” tone, you can have that term on multiple demos), but also try to cover more ground by choosing some new terms for different demos as well.
Adding your location to your profile isn’t mandatory, but could be helpful in some situations. The most notable are when you are present in a major city. If you live somewhere like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, or some other major city or hub - it can be beneficial to have that info in your profile. Often there are jobs that only want local talent, and when a client can browse a casting site and see very clearly that you are in their desired location, it can get you an audition opportunity or even the booking for those location-specific jobs.
Another definite addition to your profile, should be a list of your credits. If you have high-profile brands or products that you’ve done work for, then this is a huge credibility boost and should be listed in your profile.
If you don’t quite have those big bookings yet, that’s fine, you can still list smaller, lesser-known brands to show that you are still a working talent, and add the bigger and better names as you get them.
You also want to make it very easy for a client to get in touch with you, should they be interested. Generally the sites will have features and options for them to do so and they will likely contact you through those means. But it is also a great idea to have the URL of your website, and your direct email address listed in your profile. While some sites may restrict what contact info you can provide in proposals, they still allow you to place this info in your profile - and you should do so.
You do need to upload a photo for your profile, don’t leave it blank. If you have a professional headshot or brand image you use for your VO career, you should absolutely associate it with your P2P profiles by uploading it there. The question of whether to use a real photo vs. a generic image/logo/stock photo is a debated one, but you do need to choose one or another. Leaving a profile image blank is not a good look. It makes it seem like you are unprofessional, not very active on the site, or both.
The text content of your profile is where you will want to fill in all of the info that you want to be associated with in regards to search queries. One way to look at these casting sites is as if they are search engines specifically for VO talent. Client may visit them and type specific keywords relating to their project into the search field and browse through the results that come back. Here are some of the different types of info that you should place in your profile text to help you come up in the search results
Voice Characteristics - This is the biggest one, and even though you’ve chosen some of these to tag your demos with, you should use the text of your profile to add even more, and reinforce the ones that apply most strongly to your voice
Types of Projects - This is where you can describe the projects you are interested in voicing, or the kinds you have already voiced. Keywords like Commercial, E-Learning, Radio, TV, Web Spot, Pre-Roll, IVR, etc....
Celebrity References - A lot of times clients will like a certain celebrity’s voice or a commercial they have voiced and want something similar for their project, so they will use that celeb as a search term. So if you can pull off that same down-to-earth conversational “John Krasinski” eSurance type of read, have that in your profile! Or any other celeb name that you can be linked to.
Another important element of your profile, is a description of your service. Touch on all the things you can offer your clients, besides just your voice. Things like your turnaround time, Home Studio Info, The Live Direction methods you offer, any additional related services like copywriting, and so on.
If you have testimonials from past clients, you should definitely add some to your profiles. This goes along with adding your client list, in proving your credibility. They don’t need to be novels, just a quick sentence or two from a satisfied client along with that client’s name, company, and if possible, the project name.
The project name can go a long way. When someone reads your profile and sees a glowing review from “John Doe, ABC Production Company” that’s great and surely impressive. But they likely have no idea who John Doe or ABC Production Company is, so if you can list that testimonial as coming from “John Doe, ABC Production Company, ‘Samsung Galaxy Commercial’” - That’ll likely have more of an impact.
To sum up, look at your casting site profiles as a way to reinforce your value to already interested clients, and as a way to help you pop up in search results. Utilize the best practices highlighted in this post to accomplish both of those things, and start booking more work through these platforms. You can download a free profile template in the resource package below to assist you, as well as get a few additional tips for specific casting sites.
How many of these ideas have you implemented into your own Casting Site Profiles? What other things do you have there that weren't mentioned? Let me know in the comments!
Free Resource Package
Click the button below to download a free resource package for this post, including a PDF version for saving and offline reading, as well as a free Casting Site Profile Template Guide (preview below), which you can use as a checklist to help you implement the strategies in this post into your own profiles and show you how to organize everything, along with some additional tips.