Talking Up a Story

Optimized for creative professionals, a podcast speaks to the
demand side of the Voices.com business

Photo: Voices.com co-founder and chief brand officer, Stephanie Ciccarelli

WHEN CLIENTS ARE located in all corners of the globe and represent every imaginable industry, how do you stay connected and keep them coming back for more? For Stephanie Ciccarelli, co-founder and chief brand officer of Voices.com, the answer to that question was found in the artform that lies at the heart of their business—storytelling.

The online voice-over talent company launched Sound Stories, a podcast for creative professionals, in January. Each bi-monthly episode features a conversation between Ciccarelli and an industry expert who shares insights and experiences to inspire listeners on their own storytelling journey.

“It’s a way to serve our clients who post the jobs. The challenge was determining what they all have in common. We determined that the common thread is they are all storytellers and
creative people”
— Stephanie Ciccarelli

Voices.com has always been an industry leader when it comes to supporting and nurturing their pool of voice talent, Ciccarelli says. “We did our first podcast, Interactive Voices, in 2005,” she explains. That was followed by Vox Talk—covering industry news, business tips, technology and an assortment of voice actor contributions—and Voice Over Experts (VOE), featuring tips from voice over coaches from around the world.

As the industry’s most downloaded podcast, Ciccarelli says VOE serves as a hub for the Voices.com voice talent community.

Sound Stories is different,” she says. “It’s a way to serve our clients who post the jobs. The challenge was determining what they all have in common. They could be an advertising agency, a radio station or just someone who needs to get the office voicemail done. They all need a voice over, but beyond that, what unites them? We determined that the common thread is they are all storytellers and creative people.”

Ciccarelli draws on her vast network of professional and personal contacts to find guests who will bring value to the Sound Stories audience.

Topics covered to date include advice on experiential storytelling with two-time Emmy Award winner and Stitch Media founder Evan Jones, using improvisational techniques to unleash creativity with Brandon Rudd of Shut the Front Door comedy troupe, and the connection between office design and creativity with Nicole Ledinich, furniture specialist at Facility Resources.

Listeners can tune in to each 20- to 30-minute episode on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Music or from the Voices.com podcast website (www.voices.com/podcasts).

“We want this podcast to feed the soul,” Ciccarelli says.

Of course, Sound Stories is also designed to engage existing clients and to attract new business—a goal that is still more art than science.

So far, Ciccarelli has taken an organic approach to audience growth by promoting the podcast through Voices.com social media channels and newsletters. “The wonderful thing about having started a podcast really early on in our business is that we have a built-in audience,” she notes.

And although it is difficult to quantify the series’ true reach, the company recently received a call from a businesswoman in the Emirates who discovered Voices.com through the podcast.

“We know that the number of downloads is always increasing and that we are one of the only podcasts tackling the art of storytelling from the audio side,” says Ciccarelli. The anticipated release of Apple’s new podcast analytics should help solve some of the mystery around who is listening.

In the meantime, Ciccarelli remains focused on growing Sound Stories influence by offering content that is entertaining, inspirational and useful.

“Voices.com has always been about helping people use the human voice to tell their stories really well,” she says. “This is another way for us to support and connect with our clients and build our community.”  Nicole Laidler