A solid voiceover script is the key to success for your podcast or your radio and television commercials. Writing voiceover scripts that are compelling and persuasive is very different from writing print ads and small blurbs that appear on online advertisements.
Peter Drew, an experienced voice over artist who provides voiceovers via the Internet and for several radio networks, highlights the importance of ‘writing for the ear, not the eye.’ That is, you will want to write very short, concise and succinct messages that sound like a real conversation. At first, this can sound like a very unnatural style of writing – especially if you’re used to creating marketing copy for print ads – however, it is the only way you will truly develop a compelling and realistic voice over segment.
Here are some simple ways to modify your marketing copy and recording strategies that will ensure the voiceover is narrated as smoothly as possible, and that it really does deliver a high-impact message to your target audience:
1. Make sure everything is in the active voice. Voiceovers need to take place in the present time, as if they were a real conversation. Make sure the whole script is written in the active voice so that the audience can identify with the messages easily.
2. Use a windscreen to protect the mic. If your voiceover script contains a lot of words that begin with the letters ‘P’, ‘B’ and ‘T’, the talent may have difficulty reading the sentence without distorting it. A windscreen can help eliminate this problem and help them deliver a more smooth-sounding sentence.
3. Mark up the copy for inflection. Bolding certain words, highlighting parts of the copy or using something simple as underlines can really help your voiceover artist understand the gist of the message and deliver a quality piece. Read the copy out loud yourself to identify what parts of the sentence you want to emphasize, then mark up the copy so that the artist understands exactly what you need.
4. Write (or type) out any phone numbers. Remember that digits on paper are actually words when they are read out loud, so this may cause an imbalance in your copy. Read the entire piece with the numbers in full form so that you can adjust other parts for better flow if necessary.
5. Get the listener’s attention in the first line. Make sure your headline is an attention-grabbing intro to your voiceover script. Ideally, this introduction is under 10 words in length and contains at least one unique statement or key point.
Since a narrator will be delivering the copy, the writer of the script will need to account for breathing and the overall tone and personality of the voiceover artists. Once you have selected your voice over talent for an upcoming promotion, you may need to tweak the script slightly so that it flows with the talent’s strongest skills and abilities. Make sure you’re developing a strong and persuasive script using these guidelines, and give the voiceover talent plenty of time to practice so that you can modify your script as needed.