Trends & Insights, Video Inspiration

3 video voiceover best practices and trends for short-form video

By Erik Mathes | Dec 20, 2018


Video voiceover is an essential element for marketers and publishers to master, whether you’re in charge of producing content or you’re the voice artist who’ll be speaking. But there are lots of little details that go into how to voiceover a video, from the best practices to follow when setting up and recording, to current trends that are shaping how top brands add voiceover to video. And they may not be what you expect. After all, gone are the days when people’s ears expect to hear a voice that sounds like the typical stern reporter, posh promoter, or intense announcer, so companies must come up with new strategies when considering how to voiceover a video in a way that appeals to today’s consumers. The stats don’t lie: 87% of Gen Z and 72% of Millennials prefer watching videos on their phone with the sound on – so it’s important that you use sound to maximize the potential of your video strategy. To help you build your video voiceover foundation, here are the most important things to consider when producing this kind of content.

1. Video voiceover success is tied to strong preparation

Being prepared as much as possible in advance is key when it’s time to add voiceover to video. Start by writing a script with the right amount of words to fit the ideal video length you’re aiming for, then have it edited down for clarity by a subject matter expert. Since most people have a short video attention span, aim for videos that are about one minute, which is long enough for about a 200-word script.

Once the script is ironed out, have the voice artist practice reading the script out loud multiple times to see if there are any problems, such as hard-to-pronounce words, long sentences that need to be trimmed, or instances where words get muddled together. If any issues arise, polish up the script until it’s perfect, and then have the voice artist practice reading it aloud a few more times until they’re comfortable and ready to add voiceover to video.

Before using Wibbitz to add voiceover to the video below, GoBankingRates’s voice artist practiced reading the script in front of several people multiple times to discover if there were any potential pitfalls where she might stumble. Indeed, there was one bit of text that read awkwardly, and edits were made that enhanced the reading of the script before the record button was ever pressed.

2. Create the perfect recording environment to add voiceover to video

Being well prepared for narrating a video with voiceover isn’t enough to score a massive win in your content production. That’s because you also need to create an ideal environment for where your voiceover will be recorded, which will determine the overall sound quality when it’s finished. It starts with finding the right space, where sound isn’t impacted by external influences, like loud air conditioners, fans, computers, traffic, or noisy people. Sound will also be affected by the room you’re in, so find a place without echo or reverb and without curtains that create a “dead” sound when planning how to voiceover a video like a pro.

Once you’ve identified the best location for recording video with voiceover, make sure your voice artist has everything they need to succeed, including a stand to hold their script (printed out in large letters and on separate sheets of paper if need be, to avoid having to flip pages during recording), a glass of water (or, better yet, a juicy apple to keep their throat from getting dry and their bladder from filling up), and a pop filter to eliminate the hissing and popping sounds you get from saying words that include with “s,” “p,” or “b” in your recording. Lastly, make sure your voiceover artist is dressed comfortably when recording so there’s nothing distracting them and they can focus on delivering the best possible voice recording for your video.

In this square video for YouTube from NowThis News, the speakers sound crisp and clear when delivering their message because the location they chose to record in is free of noise and distractions, and they’re wearing comfortable clothing that doesn’t impede their delivery:

3. Gain your audience’s trust by being relatable and on-brand

In recent years, more people have shown a willingness to turn the audio on in their social feeds to hear what’s going on in the videos they see. That has caused video with voiceover to make a comeback, but not all content creators know the best practices for how to voiceover a video. To stand out, your videos with voiceover must instantly establish trust and connect with your audience.

Perhaps the most important way to achieve this is to is use a voiceover artist whose voice matches the personality of your brand. If you’re producing a video with voiceover about meditation, for example, you may want to find someone with a soft, soothing voice, whereas if you’re recording video content geared toward gamers, you might want someone who sounds young, cool, and maybe even edgy, depending on the video game you’re promoting.

If your budget allows for it, you may also want to work with a social media influencer whom your demographic is familiar with to do your video with voiceover. That way, you have a chance to instantly build trust and relatability with your audience, as long as your script isn’t too pushy. To avoid sounding too salesy, embrace the power of storytelling instead of selling, as today’s consumers are easily put off my aggressive approaches. Instead, opt for a calm, genuine-sounding delivery in your video voiceover to truly connect with the people you’re targeting.

The video below was created in the Wibbitz platform by our in-house editorial team for our customer Edmodo, as part of our Editorial Services offering where our team creates videos for our customers in their own voice and style. In it, our Director of Video Production, Kevin O’Connell, delivers his voiceover lines in a way that’s conversational, relaxed, and easy-to-relate-to, as it matches the voice and style of Edmodo. Check it out, and make sure to incorporate these best practices and video voiceover trends in your content moving forward.

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Erik Mathes, Content Marketing Strategist
Erik Mathes

Content Marketing Strategist

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