The operative word in this post is “good.” There are a lot of places where you can find ok talent for eLearning, and there are an increasing amount of places where you can find AI Voices that may be adequate. An instructional designer polled colleagues about finding good voiceover talent for eLearning materials. I’ve been an eLearning voiceover talent for over 30 years and specialize in creating engaging, passionate, exciting narration to ensure the learner learns.
As such, I was dismayed to see the number of responses referring to AI voices and to lower echelon marketplaces for voiceover talent, like Fiverr and Upwork. These marketplaces are rejected by most professionals and are flooded with entry-level talent. That’s not to say you won’t find some good talent, but the best ones are found elsewhere.
Many voiceover talent use memberships in pay-to-play marketplaces to help them find work. Some of the more respected ones include Voice123, Bodalgo, and Castvoices. Each has membership tiers and specific algorithms to help you find talent. You create a job and fill in the criteria you want the talent to have from your perspective. For example, you may be looking for a specific gender or accent, or you know that you’re looking for a very blue color or conversational read. Perhaps something very professional and formal.
These details are helpful for the actors to understand more of what you’re looking for. Most of these places let you include a small section of script sample being read. Then you listen and make your selection.
How Do You Know Which Marketplace to Use?
Voice123 is the grandaddy of voiceover marketplaces. It’s been around the longest, is the most respected among top-tier professionals, and although you will find voiceover talent from around the world on this platform, most of the jobs are North American-based. Bodalgo is another well-respected platform based in Europe, and you will find excellent talent on this site. Despite being based in Europe, many incredible American voiceover talents are also signed up on this marketplace.
Castvoices is a new but strongly growing marketplace. This increase is due to the respect voice over actors have for those who launched this platform. I recently used it to help a long-standing eLearning client find some top-notch character voices for a program.
Keyword Searches to Find Voiceover Talent for eLearning
After you skip over the ads and push past those pay-to-play marketplaces which have mass budgets and SEO domain strength behind their names, what individual voiceover talent comes up when you type in the keywords that are most relevant to you? Searches like “e-learning voiceover,” “male e-learning narration,” or “female voice talent for medical narration.” These are great examples of specific keyword searches (both short and long-tail) that will help you find professional talent who cares enough about the keywords you’ve selected to talk about them on their website, in blogs, in their demos, and on specific pages.
These eLearning voice over artists will have put thought and time into making sure they can be found. Clicking through to their websites and listening to their demos is a straightforward way to see whether that narrator is a good match for your needs. Check the number of eLearning demos they have on their site and the names of clients they’ve worked with. Narrators that work in eLearning study it and are subject matter experts and as passionate about engaging your learners as you are.
Looking for Talent on LinkedIn
You live on LinkedIn and so do a lot of high-quality professional voiceover artists. Again, good voice over talent working full time as eLearning narrators are in social media groups. They read posts, share content, and want to stay abreast of changes and trends in the eLearning industry. Using LinkedIn as a professional resource allows you to make connections, ask questions, and learn. You can also find all kinds of talent seeking job opportunities.
Make Your Roster of Voiceover Talent for eLearning
Start with your favorite voice over professional. If they’ve done a great job, put their name, pricing, and other details at the top of your list. Then ask them for recommendations. Chances are, if they are good talent themselves, they will know others who are as well. We only ever want to recommend people who will reflect well on ourselves.
So, if they are good, usually the talent they recommend will be good. Some may help you cast and manage projects. I make casting recommendations for eLearning projects often as a professional courtesy. You may want 2-3 options for larger projects with multiple choices for each character. I and other top-tier talents like myself may offer to cast and manage talent on your behalf.
Local Production Houses
Audio engineers who freelance and work in post-production houses often have a curated voiceover roster of talent they trust. Artists they know can deliver the right sound for a project every time. Start locally and search for production houses in your area. Call them up and ask them to share their suggestions for good voiceover talent for your eLearning project. They will be happy to work with you and be in on the file editing part of the process of creating your deliverables.
Invest the Time to Cultivate Voiceover Talent for eLearning
As with any professional project, it’s essential to find the right person for the right part. The number of talented voiceover artists is growing exponentially, which makes taking the time to find your perfect partner essential. If you have experience searching for eLearning talent, please share your tips here!