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 ReleaseIs 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.”.

Because of the prevalence of paid “influencers” in marketing, if you have genuine testimonials it may be essential to state they’re unpaid.

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 onBecoming 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. 

1.  Keep Consumers from cheating on You: Foster a Community to Stay Together
2.  Big Changes at MailChimp.
3.  Predictable Cycles of Hype.  
4.  Black Female Founders Face Constant Rejection: They’re Thriving Anyway.  
5.  Underestimating the Power of Gratitude: The Recipients of “Thank you” Letters Are More Touched Than We Expect.  
6.  5 Keys Ways to Develop a Strong Tone of Voice.  
7.  Should You Put Service Rates on Your Website?  Great question.  I like it.  
8.  3 Mindsets You Need to Successfully Increase Your Rates.  
9.  30 Business Books that Have Had the Greatest Influence on Yudkin.
10.  Creative Way to Lure Readers to Older But Still Relevant Material on Your Site.  Use this link if that first one doesn’t work.  
11.  Empathy v. Sympathy, and why you should always opt for the former.  
12.  Why and How Emotional Intelligence Is Essential in Business.  The author is LaRae Quy, a former undercover agent for the FBI.  Her book, Secrets of a Strong Mind: What My Years As a Secret Counter Intelligence Taught Me About Leadership and Empowerment and How to Make It Work for You, LaRae Quy, 2012.  Interesting sounding title, and since Marcia recommends her it would be worth reading.  Find her Twitter page here.   
13.  “1 in 4 Female Founders Have Considered Running for Office,” Fast Company, September 12, 2019.  Female Entrepreneurs Are Crushing It.
14.  “How to Use a Message Hierarchy Effectively,” Joanna Wiebe, Copyhackers, June 2016.  Find it under “Copywriting” at their site.  Copyhackers look like an excellent site.
15.  “AI Is Coming for Your Favorite Menial Task,” Fred Benenson [former Vice President @ Kickstarter], The Atlantic, September 8, 2019.
16.  “10 Valuable Things Extroverts Can Learn from Introverts,” Nicole Pajer, Huffington Post, September 6, 2019.
17.  “How to Survive a Recession If You’re a Small Business,” Charisse Jones, USA Today, August 29, 2019.
18.  33 Keys to Thriving During A Recession, Marcia Yudkin, 2019.  She says “any economy. Each tip,” she says “has a recommended step you can take to boost business survivability.”  Nice.  Looking forward to reading this.  Only $1 on Kindle. 
20.  How to write copy using negative reviews.  

from Yudkin . . .

BUY THESE COURSES BY AUGUST 31ST, 2019 [posted July 22, 2019] 
1.  $40.  Be Concise.  Good prices at $40.  I hope I wasn’t too wordy.  It’s a 38-page PDF.  
2.  $40.  73 Ways to Describe a Widget: Never Be Brain Dead Again When Having to Write Catalog Copy or Sales Material, Marci Yudkin, for $40PDF.
3.  A Buzzword detector.  
4.  $300.  10 Advanced Writing Techniques that make writing about science vivid, accessible, and exciting.  The course is called “Breaking Into Print” and costs $300 and its focus is magazine writers.  COURSE
5.  Postcard Marketing, $200COURSE.  6 figure dog business uses Marcia’s course to “Find and Retain Customers.
6.  Information Empire with Step-by-Step Guidance, $2,000COURSE.
7.  Marketing Plan, $300.  This is great advice, “The time to put together a publicity and marketing plan is way before you may need it.”
8.  Personal Branding, $500.  This course is designed to market your strengths.  Create appeal while staying true to yourself.
9.  DO NO HARM: “No Harm Marketing Manifesto,” Marcia Yudkin.
10.  Create a Practical Marketing Plan, Marcia Yudkin.  $300.
11.  Do you sell to introverts or extroverts? Increase your understanding of psychological diversity and its impact in business:$40.


Use letters to sell magic, Ann Handley.  A good sample of over-the-top, peak marketing.

Peak Marketing is marketing that hits on all cylinders:
  • Personalized
  • Refreshingly different from what other businesses in its category do
  • Rooted in research
  • Worth saving
  • Steeped in brand like a teabag

In Defense of Obscure Words,” Doug Jasinski.


Listverse, in case you’re looking for lists of things to write about. 

Marcia recommended this really neat questionnaire that engages the audience with questions and then answers them with an explanatory style rather than telling the participant that they’re wrong or right and what their score is.  I liked it.  It is followed by a survey that asks how they came to their site.  It’s an excellent model.  

Contact Pages.  

Marcia reminds us that “If you host a podcast, you should know the procedures for guests backward and forwards. Some hosts don’t. Annoying!”

Great presentation designs.  As a benefit/feature to your information products, show the long-term value to things that you sell

Yudkin on Ethical Marketing, titled, “The No-Harm Marketing Manifesto: How to Attract Customers and Sell So You Still Like Yourself in the Morning.”  Posted on Monday, July 20, 2020.  

1. Always aim at the best possible match between what you’re selling and who it’s helpful for.  Honestly discourage inappropriate buyers.  

2. Use responsible packaging.  Reject the argument that complicated packaging discourages returns.

3. Have reasonable return/refund policies that accommodate buyer’s remorse to some extent.

4. Appeal to the positive values of customers, not fear or nastiness.  In your promotions, don’t harangue people for being stupid, inept, or losers. 

5. Sell in consumable amounts.  Encourage customers to use what they purchased rather than stockpile it. 

6. Don’t run your business by numbers.  Remember that every buyer—and every non-buyer who follows you—is a person deserving of respect. 

7. Don’t trick people. 

8. Disclose backroom deals.