The importance of both push and pull communications

By Erin Raimondo
January 11, 2022
3 min read
Having a mix of push and pull communications is crucial to a good comms strategy.

When it comes to communications in general, whether internal or external, an important consideration in our planning is ensuring a good mix of tactics (content mix, multi-channel, etc.). There are a few reasons we want to ensure diversity in our outreach, but the overarching one is so that we’re not missing any potential opportunity to reach our audience with our message.

When we’re determining our mix and our targeting, one of the things we want to ensure is a good balance of push vs pull communications — i.e., outreach vs information living in a specific place.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios:

  • You plan and execute a party, but don’t invite anyone, OR
  • You invite everyone to a party, but when they show up, nothing’s there.

Neither scenario is going to give anyone the outcome they’re looking for—that’s why the mix is critical!

What are push communications?

Some examples of push communications channels include Slack and other messaging services.

These are the types of communication tactics that attempt to reach people wherever they’re at, whether that’s in a physical or digital environment.

Some examples of push channels:

  • Email
  • Slack/Teams/etc. messages
  • Social media
  • Environmental signage

What are pull communications?

These are about making sure that the message or information is present when someone is actively seeking it out, whether on their own or after being led there by another piece of (push) content.

Some examples of pull channels:

  • Intranets
  • Websites
  • Shared drives
  • Bulletin boards

Why we need to always consider both push and pull communications

You need to consider both push and pull communications to have an effective internal comms strategy.

When you’re deciding on your content mix and channel strategy for any given communications program, having a good balance of push and pull gives you a lot of flexibility and the ability to tailor your content to each medium, and to use each to its advantage. For instance, you can craft a brief, catchy note for a medium that has a lot of adoption but that’s not as well suited for longer-form content — say, Slack — but then you’re constrained in terms of how much detail you can include. You never want a TL;DR situation. But if that catchy note includes a link back to a single source of truth, like an intranet, you use both channels for their respective advantages. While that’s a fairly basic example, the principle remains the same for larger or more complex campaigns.

One last consideration

There is a third branch to push vs pull, and that’s interactive communication — things like meetings, conference calls, instant messaging, etc. As professional communicators, we tend to focus on the first two because that’s what makes up the bulk of our work. However, it’s worth considering how we can tap into that more horizontally-oriented communication to bolster the channels we have more explicit control over. Tactics like providing talking points or presentation slides to line managers or working with internal influencers on ongoing campaigns can reinforce messaging in spaces you might not have access to, and will reinforce the relationships with those key individuals across your organization. If you can show that you’re working to make their job easier, to support them in the communication asks made of them by leadership, you’re far more likely to see your push/pull message mix amplified.

To really hone your communications strategy, and create your organization’s “single source of truth”,  book your free demo here to learn more about our software, and take our internal comms assessment to know exactly where you stand. Our team of experts is happy to help you diversify and streamline your internal comms strategies!

By Erin Raimondo

Erin Raimondo has been working in communications for more than a decade. Starting out in public relations, she moved through agency work, corporate communications, and a quick pit-stop in marketing project management, to find her home in internal communications. She sees internal communications as a powerful tool to make a positive impact on the people that make up organizations. Erin is currently working as a communications specialist advising on internal communications best practices.

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