marketingHere is an industry term you may (or may not) be familiar with that deals with promotional items for voiceover talent. The best rule of thumb that applies here is the old adage, “Keep it simple.”

premiums–A premium is a promotional item sent out by talent such as pens, pencils, mugs, hats, chattering teeth, waxed lips, hot sauce and so forth that usually has the talents’ name and logo on it to promote the talent conceptually and tangibly through name-recognition.

The best, most-effective premium I ever saw was sent out by voice talent and illustrator, Pat Byrnes one Christmas season. It was a small battery operated clock that had his own little dog (logo) illustration from his demo chasing around the face on the sweep-second hand. His name was simply printed on the face of the clock itself. Not only was the tiny token appropriate, given the fact it was the holiday season, but a person can really use a clock. Every time you’d look at it…there’d be Pat’s name. I thought it was a pretty cool premium. The most useful I’d ever seen.

I did t-shirts one Halloween that echoed the graphic that was featured on my demo– a cartoon of the Frankenstein monster about to pluck a mic out of the hands of a small girl (aptly entitled “Plays Well With Others”). The image was ‘season appropriate’ and the select few I targeted really like them. In fact, I continue to hear about them now years later.

One fellow, many years ago, who was well known and very well-liked in the industry gave out packages of cashews with his logo well displayed on top!

Premiums are an added expense and not a must, but they can be a fun tool to help further your brand name as a professional voice-over provided they leave a pleasant memory of you.

I don’t typically recommend premiums, especially if you’re new to the industry. Instead your money would be better spent honing your skills with training, developing the best demo and promo possible, and preparing yourself to deliver the goods at every audition and session. Otherwise you’ll only be promoting a half-baked pie.

If you ready to roll and you’re still interested in sending out a premium, then be sure to send an item that furthers promotes what you bring to the table conceptually, and therefore represents you best. A premium is an extension of the idea of what it is you bring to the industry professionally.

Just be sure you include your web address on every piece of promo your send out. For examples of premiums, check out:

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