written by Paul Holewa
With all the knowledge and industry experience you and your staff possess there’s plenty to talk about with your customers – existing and potential. That’s where podcasts come in.
Many know about podcasts based on content their passionate about, be it news, current events commentary, sports or any range of specialized content. There’s a common misconception that podcasts came along with the advent of the iPhones. The mobile technology produced by Apple simply made podcasts easier to access. The birth of podcasts dates back to “audio blogging” in the 1980s.
If you think that podcasting is for “other” retail jewelers. Think again. At the March 2020 Atlanta Jewelry Show George Bundy, founder, chairman and CEO of San Francisco-based BRS Media, presented to a group of retail jewelers on how to start a podcast. The information was well received.
“Jewelers were thrilled to find out just how easy and simple it can be to create a conversation and a close connection with consumers by starting a podcast,” says George. “Retail jewelers were very excited to embrace this new technology.”
For a host of reasons jewelry storeowners and their staff possess a lot of product knowledge. And, given the advancement of technology, especially in the area gemology, the pressure is on to stay current with breaking industry related information. The downside: you don’t have to use it all the time.
The upside: sharing that knowledge can be part of your list of podcast topics. “Topics should include things you’re passionate about,” says George. “In your market and in your store you’re an expert in certain areas, be it diamonds, jewelry design, jewelry fashion, bench jeweler work, custom jewelry making or even watches. You can also tell a story, give advice, or interview others in the industry.”
Taking these suggestions a step further can include industry related experiences such as diamond buying trips to New York, Antwerp, India or Israel. Gemstone adventures ranging from the Tucson Gem Shows to exotic destinations where mining, manufacturing or selling take place including: Bangkok, Thailand; Jaipur, India; or the island nation of Madagascar.
For the wedding jewelry market, retail jewelers and their staff have to be experts on the latest bridal trends. For fashion jewelry and the self-purchasing crowd staying current on breaking fashion trends for women and men is paramount.
The “why” behind podcasting might further spark some innovative topics on your list. “Like all online marketing, a podcast is an extension of your retail store brand,” says George. “The topics and conversation with your audience should be on point with your business message; it should be informational without being an Infomercial. You should always ask: What kind of content will my audience enjoy?”
As a business owner, if you’re not sure go right to the source: your customers. Have your sales associates reach out to their leading customers and conduct the fishing expedition on podcasting and topics of interest. Start the effort with realistic, achievable goals.
The “how” or “how much” is the next step in podcasting. The front-end investment options are as varied as the podcast topics list. “We have podcasters that spend thousands of dollars on a professional studio and audio equipment,” says George. “Some spend just a couple hundred dollars on basic podcast microphones while many just use a free app and record with nothing more than a smartphone.”
Armed with topics and the essential equipment, next is determining how long to make a podcast. In the age of video content, business owners have been conditioned to the two-minute length threshold. That’s not the case with podcasts.
“Promotional videos are short-form introductions to your business,” says George. “Podcasting is informational entertainment and is longer-form. There is right/wrong length for a podcast. The average time is 37 minutes. But your podcast could run from 10 mites to 60 minutes, depending on the interest of the topic.”
Like any good content, it can be repurposed. Podcasts can be converted to video. Slide graphics are needed for visual interest when uploading content to Facebook or YouTube. (Keep in mind that YouTube is the second most used search engine.)
“Some record their podcasting using Zoom that records both audio and video,” says George.
Podcast platforms are like a downtown retail area. It always helps to have eye-catching window displays. For podcasts, it’s all about the artwork. “It’s the visual title people see when looking for content,” says George. “It’s also the graphic displayed on podcast apps and players while listening to your podcast. Retail jewelers can have this done in-house or professionally done. This can be a one-time expense factored in to your front-end investments.”
Podcasts turn you or someone on your staff into the store’s spokesperson. Choose the chief or main voice wisely on how you think who best represents the business. It’s not uncommon to have guest podcasters. This could be a designer of finished jewelry, a gemstone adventurer, or an industry expert of some kind.
In addition to establishing a voice to your business and creating confidence in the areas of interests and expertise that make you a gemstone, jewelry and watch expert, podcasting can help in other ways.
“A podcast builds trust in your clients, audio is unique because of the intimate relationship it creates between brand and listener, hosts speak directly to their audience and as a result of this consumers feel a more personal connection with the business,” says George. “Nearly 70 percent of listeners agreed that a podcast made them aware of a new product or services.”