As head of content for Plant Sumo, a plant-based meal box service based in London, I was tasked with growing the business, creating potential PR and marketing opportunities, and making the brand stand out without breaking the bank.
I did it by starting a podcast. 100% independently.
And while I haven't blown up Joe Rogan style, our brand has seen significant benefits and growth internally and externally from my podcast, The Plant Sumo Podcast. Here's why producing a podcast is a great way to help small businesses grow.
As you scale your small business marketing, take a look at these 4 ways to use marketing automation to grow your business.
It's simple, cheap, and accessible
When producing a podcast, you won't need a massive budget.
Sure, you may want to purchase some specialist equipment. But if you're satisfied with the quality of your mic and recording software, you may not even need to spend a penny. Services like Anchor allow you to feature your podcast on multiple platforms, including Spotify and Google Podcasts, for free. And you can record a conversation on Skype, Zoom, or even GarageBand, and Anchor will convert it for you into a streamlined podcast format.
The ease of this process definitely made me worry that I was underproducing my podcast. But I ended up learning that overproducing a podcast is what ruins its appeal. For a small business, anything that feels contrived or performative won't work. Your main goal should be authenticity, and hiccups in production quality or editing can sometimes help, rather than hurt.
People want authenticity
Today's overproduced and performative digitized media landscape has led to a consumer desire for authenticity. Corporate brands really struggle with this: seeming authentic when your every media move has a precise data-driven analytical strategy behind it is certainly a challenge.
As a small business, you have the advantage of starting with authenticity. You're not an actor or celebrity talking about a brand—you're the person behind the brand. That means you can authentically talk about your brand—its products, services, and values—and your industry.
Plant Sumo is committed to an inclusive, non-judgemental outlook on dietary choice. The Plant Sumo Podcast, which has featured vegans, flexitarians, and meat-eaters coming together to discuss sustainability, fitness, and food without shame, reflects this ideal.
A podcast humanizes your brand, and the charisma and friendliness of the host become associated with it. It communicates the genuine knowledge, commitment, and passion you have toward your niche.
It's the platform for niche knowledge
Podcasts tend to attract two audience types.
The casual listener: This is your audience for podcasts that center on entertainment or comedy. They will be there primarily because they enjoy listening to the interactions of the podcasters (hello, Car Talk). Their interest is less topic-based.
The niche listener: This podcast listener is there because of their interest in a particular subject—to the point they want to take time out of their day to listen to someone debating or discussing it. This is the kind of listener you should be trying to appeal to. You have niche knowledge; you want a niche audience.
What makes your conversations special is your expertise. Combine that with the authentic vibe of a podcast, and it's as if your friend suddenly became an expert on your favorite topic.
You can gain valuable perspective
Through facilitating conversation relating to your business, you also gain information essential to growing your business. You gain new perspectives on your industry from anyone you interview, and you can use that perspective to better understand what your customers and clients are looking for.
In the meantime, you'll establish connections with other people in your niche. Consider it brand networking—and you never know what might come from it.
You'll build other important skills
Hosting a podcast is great for your brand, but it's also great for your skills as a business owner. Here are just a few of the skills I've honed while hosting my podcast.
Conviction in my ideas and the confidence to run with them. This will help you trust your gut when making decisions about your business.
The ability to truly listen. This will help you better understand your customers and clients so you can serve them better.
The ability to improvise and adapt—I don't need to tell you how important that is when running a small business.
Communication skills. You'll sound more polished when you talk to clients and customers, and you'll learn what kind of language resonates with people who are interested in what you offer.