Marcia Yudkin

Marcia Yudkin is such a wonderful ambassador for writing, for writers, and for copywriting that I just feel lucky to have learned about her, to have the chance to read her insights and sharpen my skills.  She’s got this terrific essay on the “Five Myths About Writing That Can Destroy Your Productivity (and Sanity),” 2012, where she dispels some punishing misconceptions for want-to-be writers.  I liked #4 in particular: 

Myth #4 is that writing is something performed sitting down. From what I’ve seen, this myth is responsible for more people getting needlessly hung up when trying to write than anything else.

If you have diagnosed yourself with persistent writer’s block, consider the possibility that you are a kinesthetic person whose brain shuts down when you sit down. Your brain thinks only when your body is moving. There are lots more ways to write besides sitting down. You can walk around your study and dictate. You can take a long walk outside and write when you come back. You can write while walking on a slow-moving treadmill with your laptop on a standup desk.

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Well, this may be the best thing from Nick Usborne that I’ve seen or heard.  I shouldn’t be so harsh, it’s just that what I have heard and read I was not inspired.  But here, right here, Nick offers a product by Marcia Yudkin on writing press releases.  I like Marcia.  And here articles over at Ezine are also very helpful.  

Find her YouTube channel here.  I first found her site at Bill Myers’ site.

Here is a list of Marcia’s articles.  She is prolific.

Here she covers the basics of a News Release?  Is that the same as a Press Release?

This was just fantastic.

If you’re stressed out, you’re less persuasive.  75% of people said they could pretend to be an extrovert if something important was at stake.  To go that route on a consistent basis has an enormous cost.  It’s stressful.  At 8:42, she says “We’re less persuasive when we’re pretending.”  And it doesn’t change our visceral reactions.   Many introverts have told her, “I’d rather die than make cold calls.”  Some well-meaning people make the problem worse.  “Grow up,” they say.  “Life isn’t meant to be comfortable.”  Or, “Calling yourself an introvert is just an excuse for being a wimp.”  Or, “You know, you can learn to overcome being an introvert.  There are pills you can take.”  (Laughter)  “Try anti-anxiety medication; it will help you.”  Or, “Marcia, you can go to charm school and learn to make small talk with a smile.”  Or, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.”  At the 10:07 mark, Marcia says, “It’s not fear that introverts feel; it’s revulsion.”  That makes sense.  Revulsion to what?  “It’s revulsion against a way of treating other people the way that we don’t want to be treated.”  Makes sense.  “It’s revulsion against marketing who we feel we are and who we want to be in the world.”  Conventional marketing advice says that “When we’re in business, we must meet customers’ expectations.  Now that sounds reasonable.  The problem is that sometimes we have a narrow, stereotypical, and mistaken idea of what those expectations are.  

This is Marcia’s Freelance Copywriter Top 10 Ways to Get Your Copywriting Business Off the Ground.   And here is Marcia’s “Marketing Minute.”

The Professional Research Library.


BNI, Business Network International

Here, Marcia recommends buying two of her books in preparation for the course.

Before beginning the training program, you need to have read two of my books, 6 Steps to Free Publicity and Persuading on Paper. They’re available from all online bookstores, and you can also order both books from me directly.

The books are now in my possession as of Monday, May 20, 2019.   Marcia offers a wonderful self-study course no “Becoming a Marketing Consultant” for $500.

Master the techniques that, minute for minute, earn you more when applied than just about any other skill – whether you’re aiming at improving your own marketing materials or clients’.  In a home-study format,
 Six Weeks to Masterful Copywriting provides a foundation in the basic principles of copywriting and gives you assignments to practice on, then compare your work with mine and that of other students.  Copywriting course details.

Upon her recommendation, I did purchase two of Marcia’s books.  One is 6 Steps to Free Publicity (2009) and the other is Persuading on Paper (2001), and it’s rare that I’ve been so invigorated by somebody’s writing. 

Before beginning the training program, you need to have read two of my books, 6 Steps to Free Publicity and Persuading on Paper. They’re available from all online bookstores, and you can also order both books from me directly.

I started with her Persuading on Paper, thinking that it would be more about word wizardry that she so delightfully calls wordplay to persuade.  Almost.  It’s more about strategizing.  Early on, I found myself delighted and liking a few points: 

1. In Chapter 2 in her vignette about Herman Holz, she illustrates how to think from the buyer’s needs, not the artistic needs of the writer, meaning you.  She writes, “As Holz learned, getting your hands on the words that communicate what you do can be slippery and difficult.  “Are you offering what you want to sell or what the client wants to buy?”  From a copywriting perspective, that is the key question.  Her question should remind you that you’re the problem-solver, that you figure out a solution to their problem, and if your writing can provide that then you’re the one for the client.  

From Chapter 1, “What Do You Need on Paper and Why,” she writes “Previous clients deserve the personal contact of a letter or second best–a newsletter if you have a substantial client list.”

And on only the second page of her book, we learn under her heading “People need something that explains all the details of any product or service” that

Another good reason.  When people are ready to buy, many need something that sets forth the specifications of your product or service, terms of the sale, procedure for ordering and so on.  But before you compose an ad, information sheet, press release or direct-mail package providing this information, consider whether you should market in one step or two.  In two-step marketing, the initial item sparks a motivated reply from a potential customer, who then receives more information by mail, fax or phone.  Most experts say that one-step marketing works mostly for small purchases in the $10-and-under range. 

From Marcia’s Persuading on Paper . . . 

The more you create an illusion of pertinent one-to-one communication, the more powerfully your mass mailing persuades.  

After all, why don’t big companies simply stick their magazine ads into an envelope and sent them to potential customers?  We’d be puzzled and perhaps even insulted.  We’ve come to expect letters in our mailbox because we respond to them. 

Marcia has so many pearls that I am absolutely stunned that she is tagged as America’s #1 Copywriter” the way that Bob Bly is so frequently, and so deservedly, tagged.  

From Chapter 7, “Sales Letters and Direct Mail That Get Results,” of Yudkin’s book, she explains that “Direct-mail letters tend to be longer than most personal letters we receive.  Designed to produce action, they grab the reader’s attention and led him through a highly orchestrated sales pitch that explains every benefit of the offer and attempts to defuse every possible doubt or objection to the sale.  Of the 34 letters labeled “classics’ in The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of All Time, 1995, half took up one or two pages while half took up three to seven pages.  “There’s no such thing as a letter that is too long–just one that is too boring,” says Richard Hodgson, editor of the collection.  “There have been successful direct mail letters which are six, eight, ten and even twenty pages long.  The role of a sales letter is to answer all the questions the prospect needs to have answered before he or she is willing to take the action requested.  If it takes multiple pages to answer the questions, the letter can keep rolling until the last question has been answered.”  Other experts report that when they pit long letter against short ones for the same offer, the longer ones almost always win more orders.  But what about our supposed short attention spans?  Do busty people really read four- or seven-page letters?  “Actually, I don’t care if they read the whole thing,” replies direct mail copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis.  “Lengths makes a psychological impact.  It inspires confidence.”  (p104) 

Marcia refers to Bob Stone, whose book, Successful Direct Marketing Methods, co-authored by Ron Jacobs, is an apparent best-seller.  The book is almost 700 pages. 

Expected response on a “cold-mailing” campaign package is 0.5% to 1%.  That is an abysmal result.