4 Tips For Selecting the Right Voiceover Artist of Your Explainer

by Claude Harrington December 23, 2015
December 23, 2015

One of the final decisions that you’ll make when creating your explainer video is selecting which voiceover artist is right for the audio narration. We will provide you with a short list of candidates and always be available to talk about the process, but ultimately the decision is yours. So to help you make that decision, we’ve outlined a few helpful tips:

1. Right is Different Than Best: When comparing candidates for any position, it’s tempting to search for the most talented. That may be the best strategy for hiring a new employee at your company, but it should not be objective when hiring a voiceover artist. Because what matters most here is finding the right fit. You want to select the person who can most effectively bring your company’s message to life in this specific explainer video. Someone whose voice meshes with your corporate culture and is capable of hitting the right tone.

To use a sports analogy, think about this like selecting a pinch hitter for your baseball team. You don’t need to identify the “best” hitter, per se, but rather the one most likely to flourish in a given situation. Down by several runs? You might look to a power hitter. Need to move the runners? Maybe someone with speed and good plate discipline.

Yet keep in mind that even in situations like those, there is no “correct” answer. The same is true for selecting your voiceover artist. And in the end, it might very well turn out that the right candidate is also the best candidate. But the key takeaway here is that approach is important. Focus on identifying the right fit for your explainer because that’s what matters most.


2. Consider Point of View: When trying to determine the right candidate, one of the most important things to consider is point of view. The perspective of your narration will play an important role in how you explainer is perceived, so you should factor that in when selecting a voiceover artist. Below are some of the qualities to look for based on the type of perspective presented in your explainer:

  • First-person (I/We): This perspective is the most intimate, and therefore trust is important. It also tends to be a bit more personal, so think about the personality presented by the voiceover artist.
  • Second-person (You): This perspective is often colloquial, as the speaker should sound like someone who knows “you.” Someone who could reasonably provide insight and advice. So look for a voiceover artist who can speak with both credibility and camaraderie.
  • Third-person (He/She): This perspective is the most objective, and the speaker should exude and air of authority. He or she should feel like an expert, someone who knows how the world really works and is kindly sharing the information. (note: but be careful here not to select someone who sounds too cold or clinical for your desired message).


3. Pick Out A Few Key Lines: Since the audio samples that you’ll be reviewing refer to that actor’s previous work, it can sometimes be hard to think about what he or she might sound like if hired to read the narration of your explainer. For example: You might like one thing this actor does, but feel concerned about another. So to mitigate concerns like these, there’s a trick I like to use: before listening to the candidates, I always go through my script and pick out three key lines:

  • The opening
  • The call to action
  • The most complicated line in my script

If I feel like a candidate can successfully deliver on these three key lines from my list, then I know that I’m in good shape with my explainer.


4. Close Your Eyes and Trust Your Gut: If you’re still struggling with the decision, it can sometimes be a good idea to simply close your eyes and trust your gut. Without distraction, how does this person make you feel? Does that fit with your brand? And most importantly: can you imagine this voice successfully leading viewers through the journey of your message?

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