History of copywriting – check how this profession developed!

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Copywriting has gained great popularity in recent years, which is a natural consequence of the digital marketing development. Although the boom has recently occurred, the potential has been growing for many years so far. The aim of the following article to get you fimiliar with the history of copywriting.

History of copywriting – beginnings

To discuss such a lofty issue as history, we must precisely define the concept of copywriting.

Copywriting is a profession that provides a wide range of services consisting in creating professional content that carry out client’s marketing strategy.

In other words, it is an investment that brings profit in certain perspective. With that in mind, we must admit that history is not too distant, not to mention “pure” Internet copywriting.

However, we will try to present a general historical outline that led to the extraction of this profession.

Development of writing – 5000 years ago

For copywriting to be created, first resources for this profession need to exist. Of course, the fundamental tool is writing. It was probable to develop the fastest among the Sumerians around 3500-3000 B.C.

It was the first evolved civilization that has used certain symbols to pipe down the inventory stocks quantity or proper rights. This society lived in southern Mesopotamia, which was one of the best region if it had come to living conditions. Accordingly, there was nothing to prevent Sumerians from starting the copywriting history. It ends with the article that you are reading now.

Kushin plate
The oldest clay tablet in the world with cuneiform writing. The information has been partially restored from it, while its interpretation is fairly precise. Thanks to the translation we can read: 34,813 liters of barley have been delivered over a 37-months period to public servant, Kushima, who is responsible for the beer production at the Ishtar temple in Uruk.

Expansion in India – 3800 years ago

Even though the next milestone was the dissemination of the writing in Europe, it is worth mentioning India – this country created extensive content for religious purposes.

The Vedas, which were the basis of Vedism at that time, are the perfect example. Although nowadays a thick book is associated mainly with the Bible, the Vedas are six times larger than it.

The above information is certainly astonishing, however, East Asia set the pace in many other religious books, especially during the Brahman period. We are mentioning canonical Upanishads (auxiliary texts for meditation techniques) or Pańcatantra (a great collection of fairy tales).

History of copywriting – proper development

As you can see, it is impossible to omit ancient Asia if we discuss history of copywriting. Writers in ancient Asia have created extremely extensive content. However, the revolution that drastically increase the accessibility of the content and writing was just coming.

Invention of printing – 500 years ago

It is fifteenth century – despite the “dark” centuries in Europe, there are more and more exceptions to illiteracy, while great works see the daylight. Such example are well-known Dante’s Divine Comedy and The Song of Roland.

The first printed book is Gutenberg’s Bible, which saw the light of day in 1455. However, it should be remembered that the popularization of printing was slow. Over the next half a century, incunabula has been created sporadically. Even though, nowadays those are constitute writings of extremely high historical value.

The most difficult stages are behind us – since them, almost all of the works have been shown to the world in printed form. It had been only a matter of time before commercial content reached larger audience.

Johannes Gutenberg.
Johannes Gutenberg, the creator of the world’s first printing method.

Internet development and dissemination of the content – till now

Although we have briefly described 5,000 years of history of writing development, the actual events of copywriting are happening right in front of us as an integral part of human development.

Sounds lofty? It was supposed to. People have been struggling with information deficit for thousand years – there was no Wikipedia, no Google, and no books available. However, since the 1990s, the drastic expansion of Internet writing has made the current search engine algorithms struggle with the excess of useless content. Copywriting is a subject to very dense quality filtration that provides recipients with reliable, high-quality texts only.

We have reached the stage during which every user’s query or question finds the answer in extensive and interesting content. Even thought Google used to pay attention to keywords and key phrases in the text, today it takes into account hundreds of other factors. Therefore, the specificity of copywriting has been significantly modified in recent years, and changes are still coming – faster and faster.

Summary

  1. The history of copywriting goes back thousand of years, although the sudden boom has occurred recently. The result was creation of profession that we know today.
  2. Many years ago, a book was a sign of wealth. Nowadays, we perform strategic and difficult actions to present our content to the largest group of users.
  3. Recent years have shown that copywriting is a profession all about changes, therefore it is impossible to predict the future.
  4. Because of the facts mentioned above, we believe that this description of the history of copywriting is like the article on the mobile phones development… published in the 90s! The world spins forward and there are many question marks ahead.

It is left for us, copywriters, to carefully observe all trends and to adapt to the market, so our content brings the greatest benefits to our clients.

Bart Ciesielski

Experienced copywriter who explores the secrets of marketing and positioning. In his articles, he refers to the contemporary achievements of psychology and the philosophy of language, creating cross-sectional content. As a member of the Content Writer team, he takes care of technological and organizational solutions that increase the quality of work. Privately, he reads a lot of books, learns new languages ​​and composes piano pieces.

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