Is your employee newsletter as scary as “The Exorcist”?

No matter what season we’re in, it’s the perfect time to sit back, relax and watch horror movies. Personally, I enjoy the classics—like “The Exorcist”, “Halloween”, “Night of the Living Dead” or “Rosemary’s Baby”—but I also like to venture into unknown territory and watch scary movies I haven’t seen. The problem is that many horror movies end up being a waste of time.

I recently made the mistake of watching “Friday the 13th Part 3”, “Bloody Murder” and “The Blair Witch Project” all in the same weekend. (Yeah, I guess I was asking for it with this movie line up.) After cringing my way through the blood, screams and shaky camera footage, I quickly blocked these awful movies out of my mind.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when I was reviewing employees’ comments from a newsletter survey, that I was reminded of what I had seen.

Wondering what could make an employee newsletter drop-dead awful? Here are three things to avoid.

1. Recycled story line
There’s nothing worse than watching a horror movie for the first time and realizing the plot is eerily similar to something else you’ve seen (like when “Bloody Murder” stole the entire premise of “Friday the 13th”). The same goes for your newsletter—if it consists of the same topics over and over again, employees will be more inclined to let out a blood-curdling scream.

Ensure you have a good mix by setting up an editorial board, where you invite employees from different departments to contribute story ideas and inform you of upcoming events.


2. Worn-out scares
There are only so many times you can jump from seeing Jason Voorhees (the villain from the Friday the 13th movies) pop out from behind a door. While you don’t want your newsletter to shock employees, you do need to have unique content that surprises readers (in a good way).

Think outside the box and change the way you present content. Put stories in the form of infographics, Q&A’s or listicles. For a chilling twist, embed a short video in place of an article.


3. Lackluster camera work

Some horror movies wouldn’t be as bad if there was extra time put into camera work. It’s one thing if the film is low budget and uses minimal cameras, but it’s another thing if there are kids running around in the woods with a low-res, shaky camcorder, like in The Blair Witch Project. Similarly, if your newsletter consists of old, blurry images, you’re likely to scare readers away.

Use high-resolution photos and stick to only color images. You can also incorporate dynamic imagery and GIFs to really bring your content back from the dead.


Now that you know how to get rid of your newsletter demons, employees can read content without having their heads spin. And if you’re planning on watching some horror movies, do yourself a favor and stick to the classics!

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