The history of copywriting

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The history of copywriting

Copywriting is the act of coming up with creative, informative, and interesting content aimed at increasing awareness about a product or a service. It focuses on persuading customers to buy the product or sign up for the service being advertised. In the centuries past, freelance copywriters never existed since this work was career guided. Copywriters were mainly career men and women in the field of English or Journalism.

The first created copy

It is believed that copywriting dates back to the late 1470s during the Babylonian times. In 1477, the first ever printed material was created to promote the sale of a prayer book. During this period, copywriters created Ads on large papers using feathers dipped in ink. It was a painstaking exercise since there were no printing processes existing to duplicate the original copies, and each poster had to be written by hand one by one.

As earlier mentioned, freelance copywriting never

Years later the size of the printed materials was reduced to make the process of writing faster. It was then that brochures and pamphlets came into existence. In the early 1600s, mass printing processes were developed, which saw mass newspapers printed and hawked in streets. About 60 years later, the first English paper, called the Oxford Gazette, was printed. It was a large format newspaper which gave room for the publishing of several advertisements on its pages. This development was a great breakthrough for copywriters as they could now reach many people in a short period and without much effort.

The father of copywriting

As earlier mentioned, freelance copywriting never existed in the past, not until John Emory Powers (1837-1919) came into the limelight as the first independent copywriter. He worked for Lord & Taylor and Wanamaker’s department stores instead of a newspaper as was the custom. Realizing the importance of creating ads for their products, these stores contracted Emory who could then provide six ads each week to appear in newspapers. Through his ads, the stores could sell out their stock in a matter of hours, as a result doubling their annual revenues. His controversial yet creative ads eventually earned him the title ‘the father of modern creative advertising.’ Not until the early 1800s was the value of copywriting recognized, during the time of Emory.

Evolution of digital marketing<br />

After the passing away of Emory, there came other influential copywriters such as Robert Collier, whose efforts worked to revolutionize more the field of copywriting. Around the 1930s, Collier started the daily mail phenomenal where he utilized emotional connecting and psychological techniques to reach clients.

Even at this time, sellers had not fully embraced copywriting considering that the ads became obsolete after a short period, in contrast to the immense amount of time, skill, and money invested. However, through Collier’s efforts and other copywriters during his time, people came to realize how influential copywriting was.

Evolution of digital marketing



With the advancement of technology, copywriting has undergone significant changes and copywriters have had to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape. The Internet has played a big role in creating a different role for copywriters since they now communicate differently with customers than before. Evolution of SEO, eCommerce, blogging, and social networking among others has seen copywriters now doing more than just writing copies for newspaper ads. Content marketing, which was an option in the past centuries, is now a necessity in marketing and is used by more than 90% of businesses globally.

Despite the Internet changing the medium and duration of copywriting, there are still certain aspects that have not changed. Modern copywriters have retained some distinctive traits their predecessors had. Such traits include the ability to tell captivating and sellable stories, uniqueness, employing emotional persuasion, and the ability to accurately pinpoint their audience.

Technology has seen the shift of a copywriter’s focus from print to the internet over the last decade. This, however, has not changed the fact that copywriting is the best way of promoting brands, products and services, businesses, and organizations. It has proved to be the only marketing strategy responsible for big returns throughout the years. The growing number of businesses is creating more opportunities for independent copywriters seeking to increase their income.

Modern copywriters may think that copywriting is a young industry that is still growing, but the truth is that it has been around for hundreds of years. Platforms, as well as other traditional customs, have changed, but the industry remains for as long as businesses exist.

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