5 tips for balancing ‘push’ and ‘pull’ in content marketing

Learn the difference between promoting engagement and pushing sales in your content and how to do them right.

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The health of your business is highly dependent on your marketing strategy. In turn, your marketing strategy’s success depends on your content’s quality and substance.

Customers overwhelmingly rely on a company’s content for purchasing decisions. One survey found that most people prefer content over social media, reviews or contact with a sales rep.

So, how can you ensure your content marketing makes the right impact? 

Dig into the following information to discover the benefit of promoting engagement over pushing sales in your written content. Plus, learn how to combine the two strategies successfully.

Key takeaways:

  • Promoting customer engagement is a better long-term content marketing strategy but requires patience and consistency.
  • Pushing sales can be good for quick wins but has a lower return on investment.
  • Companies often need good data and an outside perspective to create content marketing strategies that strike the right balance of encouraging engagement and asking directly for sales.

1. Realize that good content marketing is like diet and exercising

Staying healthy as a business is similar to taking care of physical health. Most of us recognize that getting healthy (whether losing weight, gaining muscle or something else) requires patience and long-term commitment for lasting success.

Your content marketing is similar. Pushing sales is good for short wins that are rarely sustainable on their own (like a crash diet).

Pushing can be effective when you need a rapid boost or want quick data. However, engagement through “pull marketing” is the way to go if you want enduring success.

You must provide consistent long-form content that educates, informs and entertains your target audience to draw them in and convert them to loyal followers. At the same time, you need intelligent SEO strategies that keep you visible on search engines.

In other words, good content marketing that promotes engagement is a “healthy lifestyle” for your business. Your business needs a steady program of valuable content to attract high-value customers that engage with your brand.

Dig deeper: The art of natural funneling: How to lead your readers without forced CTAs

2. Understand what consumer engagement looks like

Customers have more influence in the modern market. As a result, you have to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with inbound marketing. 

Compelling content that provides real value through actionable information builds trust and loyalty. Real engagement is more than a vote with a customer’s dollars. A client becomes a champion of your brand and increases their customer lifetime value.

Boosting engagement is more valuable than simply getting a brief uptick in sales. When your company receives a notable sales spike, don’t just congratulate yourself for a job well done.

Take time to figure out what worked, why and how to maintain that response with continuous content highlighting your brand’s value to your audience. Determine engagement by tracking how your audience interacts with you through comments, likes, clicks and subscriptions.

Discover how to match your brand strategy with your customer goals. Use content marketing and SEO practices to position yourself as an expert and thought leader that helps clients succeed. 

3. Recognize when you’re pushing sales too much

As a marketing professional, it’s surprising how often experienced business people think they’re providing value in content when they’re really still pushing sales. Anyone can get so deep in the weeds of their own industry that they lose sight of building customer relationships. 

Avoid having “sales breath” in your content by only promoting products. Desperation and self-interest push good leads away. Instead, sincerely look to help people, whether they use your service or not.

Creating the right blend of engagement and pushing sales is difficult and often requires an outside perspective to see where you’re missing the boat. You can do this through surveys or with the help of an experienced consultant or agency.

4. Discover how to push sales correctly

The need to push sales at the right time will never die. Your business requires methods to reach customers who know they need your solution and are ready to buy.

The trick to not wasting your advertising budget on low-return campaigns is constant measurement and good tactics, just like with your engagement strategy. Monitor and figure out who comes in your door (physically or virtually) in response to those campaigns. 

Now, study your ideal customers to find out what they like. Then provide excellent written content that they can respond to and keeps them coming back for more.

5. Use proven strategies for building engagement

Time-tested content marketing strategies continue to get results. Your biggest needs are quality and consistency. What makes that difficult is staying in tune with what your audience wants.

As you create content, ask yourself and your team:

  • Do these pieces have an honest and relevant tone?
  • Does the subject matter to our intended readers?
  • Are we bringing a unique perspective?
  • Are we supporting our information with good data?
  • Are we giving readers something specific they can use?

To get engagement, always wrap up your content with a clear call to action that tells your readers how to apply what they’ve learned or maximize results with your help. As you build credibility and provide value, clients will take you up on that offer more and more.

Keep working on your content marketing

Devising the right blend of engagement and pushing sales takes time and smart strategizing, just like improving your physical health. 

Create a solid marketing plan that addresses customer concerns and continually refine your methods to create written content that leads to loyal customers.


Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a top Content Marketing influencer, an experienced CMO and Digital Marketer with stints at brands like SAP and Nielsen and multiple high-growth startups. Today, Michael runs a fast-growing content marketing agency, Marketing Insider Group. He is also the author of The Content Formula, and Mean People Suck. When he's not running after his 4 kids, or building effective content marketing programs. Michael enjoys sharing his experiences and client stories to inspire leaders like you to create growth and impact.

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