Plato (left) and Aristotle in Raphael's 1509 fresco The School of Athens.
Marc Zienkiewicz Create, Issues Ink

I’m a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History. It’s about historical events and people that have been overlooked or misunderstood. A recent episode focused on casuistry, “the resolving of moral problems by the application of theoretical rules to particular instances,” according to the Oxford dictionary.

Casuistry — which dates back to the philosopher Aristotle — helps people make decisions by recognizing that we can’t simply use old principles to help solve modern problems. As tempting as it might be to refer to “old wisdom” in helping us figure out modern-day conundrums, we have to recognize that some problems are new and require new ways of thinking in order to solve.

For example, climate change. Never before in the history of the world have crude oil, coal and natural gas been extracted from the ground and burned in massive quantities, and the resulting emissions pumped into the atmosphere at rapidly increasing rates. We cannot think of climate change as a “natural cycle” or simply just another “challenge” that a handful of human geniuses will figure out how to overcome. We need to take steps to deal with it in new and unprecedented ways.

What does any of this have to do with content marketing and promoting your seed business? Well, I don’t have to tell you that the business world has changed. Marketing has changed. Technology has changed. Running your business the way your father ran his probably doesn’t work well. Running it the way your grandfather ran his definitely doesn’t work well.

You need new guiding principles to get you on the road to success. One of those principles is that you need to promote your business. But how?

While they’re still around, newspapers aren’t what they used to be. Placing an ad in the local paper used to be the main method of getting the word out about your business. It’s not anymore.

Advertising and promotions have become more complicated. Getting attention is all about telling a story now. Your story. The old method of telling people what a great product/service you have and that you are better or somehow more trustworthy than the other guy isn’t going to help you move much product.

Content marketing helps you to promote yourself by showing people who you are and what makes you unique. You can do this through written articles, videos, or podcasts. The sky is the limit.

The point is you need new ways of putting yourself out there in order to connect with people who are increasingly going online to find their information. The key is using a little casuistry to get creative and put yourself in front of them.

So how are you going to do this? See my next column for some insights.