Hardly anyone podcasts about jewelry. Here’s why retailers should see streaming audio as an opportunity.
Diamonds and gemstones may be rare, but podcasts covering those subjects are even rarer. Look on iTunes for podcasts that cover technology and you’ll find hundreds. But hunt for jewelry-related podcasts and you’ll come across only a handful.
Podcasting has exploded in recent years: According to Edison Research, one in five Americans listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 9 percent in 2008. And most experts see it getting bigger.
Podcasts are audio (and sometimes video) shows that can be downloaded from or streamed over the Internet. The name, which combines the words iPod and broadcast, was coined in 2004.
“People are consuming content differently,” says Rod Worley, founder of FourGrainer.com and host of the Inside the Jewelry Trade podcast. “We all want it quick, easy, and mobile. That is where podcasts shine. People can listen on the treadmill, or when they are cooking, or in the car. And now that the podcast app has been placed in iPhones and iPads, they are just going to keep getting more and more important.”
Podcasts are “the new blogs,” says Michael Schechter, a podcast veteran and digital marketing director at Richline Group. “You used to have to have a blog. Now you have to have a podcast.”
Jewelers seem—characteristically—slow to embrace this. Yet for some, gabbing at a microphone may be easier than blogging. “A lot of jewelers find it is a laborious task to write something,” Worley says. “But they can get behind the counter and talk about jewelry for hours.”
With virtually no jewelry podcasts out there, the space is wide open: “Retailers can use it as a point of differentiation,” Worley adds. “You can be the outspoken authority in your area. It can set you apart from other jewelers.”
Starting a podcast is easier than it used to be, but not exactly simple. Here are some tips:
Figure Out Your Format
“Will it be interviews? Will you be talking about the latest trends?” asks Worley. “A lot of people feel more comfortable if they do it with two people. Some people do it by themselves, though usually the biggest hurdle is sitting in a quiet room for 20 minutes talking to yourself.”
Determine What You Want to Say
“Jewelry trends, all the history—people love that stuff,” Worley says. “It’s just a matter of sitting down and putting the knowledge that salespeople spend all day giving to the public into a podcast.”
Still, he adds, it helps to be prepared: “Even 15 minutes of talking can seem like an eternity. But if you have an outline, it makes it so much easier.”
Jewelers may want to talk not only about their stores and products, but also about local events, Schechter says.
Keep It Short
“If you go over 30 minutes, you tend to lose listeners at a pretty substantial rate,” Worley says. “The average commute is about 25 minutes, so that is what we keep it.”
“The base level is coming to the table with a good microphone,” Schechter says. “When you just do something on your laptop and it sounds terrible, that sets the tone that I shouldn’t take what you are doing seriously. It’s like your store; you want to make a good impression.”
That can require some cash, but not a lot. Both Worley and Schechter say a starting podcaster need only shell out a few hundred dollars. An entry-level microphone costs about $100 or $200; basic editing tools like Apple’s GarageBand or Audacity are free. “It is so much easier and cheaper than it was even three years ago,” Worley says.
Get on iTunes
“ITunes is the 800-pound gorilla,” says Worley, adding that the Apple product accounts for around 70 percent of all podcast downloads. “Luckily they do a wonderful job of making it easy for people.” To submit your podcast to iTunes, follow the instructions at itunespartner.apple.com.
Have Fun With It
“There’s a saying: People come for the topic and stay for the voice,” Schechter says. “I can’t listen to people who make a subject dry. But I will listen to those who make the subjects fun. A personality goes a long way.”
Jewelers can contact Worley’s company and he will give them a free 30-minute consultation, going over the basics. Schechter also recommends podcastmethod.co.
(Microphone: Andreyttl/Getty Images)