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The horror of a corporate newsletter

Did anybody ever read those tedious four-page printed corporate newsletters, when your company used to produce such a thing? You know, the ones which were called something like “Blue Widget Company FOCUS”, and which consisted of a mixture of “news” which was aimed at uninterested staff, and other stories seemingly only aimed at customers. The result, of course, was a mongrel publication which was of interest to nobody. I used to see an unloved and unread pile of these in every company reception area that I visited. Indeed, I’ve even helped write a few in my time, learning to just get on with the job and not ask: “what is this thing actually supposed to be doing?”

At least nowadays they’re few and far between, mainly because most companies are concentrating on online content delivery, and “corporate newsletters” don’t lend themselves to email. That hasn’t stopped people trying though. I’ve seen the things distributed as a multi-column email, with all the colours and images embedded in the vain assumption that the recipient’s email application will faithfully reproduce the template used (top tip: it won’t). I’ve seen the things sent out as PDF attachments, in the hope that the promise of “all of our latest news” will have recipients rushing to fire up Adobe Reader to see a publication formatted for A4 on a PC screen, requiring all sorts of scrolling and zooming. And worst of all, I’ve seen the things sent out as a link to some sort of Flash-based application designed to simulate the turning of a paper page. At this point my teenage son would type *facepalm*.

This isn’t marketing – it’s ticking another box on a list of things which senior management with no idea of marketing expect to see from their marketing department. Assuming that you, dear reader, don’t have to spend your time on this sort of nonsense, it’s another reason to be grateful to be where you are. A few of your contemporaries have it far worse.

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