Even with the emergence of the internet, a lot of voice work is still done in local markets. It's usually at least a little less competitive than the internet, and tend to pay a bit better. So you do not want to neglect this work.
In addition to approaching local businesses individually, the real key to getting established is to develop a relationship with those who create media for a living. These folks generally fall into 3 categories:
- Media Production Companies: Can be exclusively audio facilities, but more often, they will also encompass a full range of services (video, web, training). Find them in your local phone directory, often listed under "Video Production".
- Advertising Agencies: Often the first people in the chain. Large, well-established big-budget agencies are difficult to approach, because they can have anyone they want. And they'll usually pick James Earl Jones before they pick you. But smaller, newer agencies often do not have as many well-established relationships with service providers and may be more open to new talent. But, this technology thing cuts both ways: It's easier than ever for local agencies to hire major market, top-caliber talent …. so they're often bypass local talent in favor of the "cooler" option of going to the " big city ".
- In-House Production Arms: Large companies often have media departments that exist within their walls, with staff producers and in-house faciliities. While they may not produce their company's commercials (usually handled by lage ad agencies), they may have a steady supply of marketing and training work requiring narration. Unlike the first two categories, these folks are harder to identify, because you will not find their production arms listed in the phone book …. as they are simply part of the larger company. So you'll need to ask around or call the company directly to ask.
What do these people need from you? Well, they'll obviously need a demo that's as close as can be to the kind of work they might consider hiring you for. Also, they'll need a minimum of a business card with contact info, including email and a web site. A cover sheet can be helpful, letting them know of your interest and availability … and especially including a couple good quotes from satisfied customers (they will not know that some of those customers were freebies …).
If you can drop them off in person and shake someone's hand, that's the very best. But sending them to producers (the decision-makers) via snail mail is also acceptable, if that's the best you can get.