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When Did Copywriting Start in Books?

When did copywriting start in books? The short answer is: quite some time ago. Believe it or not, copywriting was first used in reference to books in the 1800s. At that time, books were considered to be words on paper, and so the copywriter’s role was to make the words more appealing to the reader.

The role of the copywriter has changed quite a lot since then. Today, books are considered to be multi-media products, and so the copywriter’s role has evolved to include making the text interesting and easy to understand while, at the same time, utilizing other media to promote the books โ€” including things like infographics, web banners, social media, and so on.

While we can’t determine with exactitude when copywriting came to be considered a profession, we can state with confidence that it had something to do with Geoffrey Chaucer. If you’re unfamiliar, Geoffrey Chaucer was a 14th century English writer, poet, and literary icon. Not only did he introduce many English words and expressions to the language, but he also popularized the modern form of the written word. His poems were so influential that, even 200 years after his death, his name was still being used to describe poetic or literary works.

As a result of Chaucer’s tremendous influence, it’s no surprise that books started using copywriting much earlier than the 1800s. In fact, we can find examples of copywriting from the late 17th century. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that the profession started to become more respected, and so more books started using copywriters.

Why Are Books Still the Most Popular Medium for Advertisers?

Why are books still the most popular medium for advertisers? Despite all of the changes that the industry has experienced since its inception, there are a few things that marketers find appealing about books:

  • The Long Tail
  • The Reach of Books
  • The Visibility of Books
  • The Interactivity of Books
  • Reading Is Inherently Motivational
  • The Brand Loyalty Of Readers
  • The Transformative Power of Reading

The first two points relate to the length of books. Back in the 1800s, a book was considered to be a lengthy piece of literature, and so the first copywriters were hired because they could expand on a theme or topic and give it more depth and attention to detail. This is why a lot of 19th century bestsellers were long winded stories: to capture as much market share as possible, publishers would try to outdo each other with longer and longer books!

While today readers might get frustrated by overly long books, the fact remains that publishers are still trying to figure out ways to make books more appealing to audiences. The result is that we’re experiencing a growing number of bestsellers which are longer than ever before.

Point #3, Visibility, also relates to the length of books. If you remember from the last point, the length of a book could be used to describe how long it was; therefore, books were considered to have a wide reach because they could be easily found and accessible to more people than other forms of literature. For example, the hugely influential The Bible had an impact on so many people because it was available in so many different languages. This enabled more people to read and study the stories and morals within it.

Speaking of The Bible, it’s interesting to note that it was the first bestseller to use copywriting. The Bible was printed in English, and so it was initially aimed at a very specific audience. However, it was later found to be so effective that it became popular with the public at large, and thus started a trend of using copywriting to attract readers.

Point #4, Interactivity, relates to the fact that books can be so much more than simply words on paper. With the invention of the printing press in the 1400s, books gained the ability to have illustrations and even move characters around on a page. This made them more appealing to a wider audience, and so it started a trend of using books as a form of media.

Since then, books have evolved to encompass so much more than just text. E-books, or electronic books, were initially just considered to be books with no graphics or sounds, but today they can be so much more. Audio books allow for characters to speak and interact with the reader, while games, movies, and even musicals can be made into books. This brings us to our next point.

The Changing Role Of The Copywriter

The copywriter’s role has changed quite a bit since the 1800s, and it continues to evolve today. Back in those days, a copywriter would only be called upon to create ad copy for print ads or to write press releases and other company materials. He would then proofread these materials and sometimes offer suggestions for improvement.

Today, copywriters are much more involved in the entire marketing process, from creating campaigns and strategies to analyzing data and directing media buys.

The evolution of the copywriter’s role is a direct result of technology. Over the years, the development of social media, SEO, and content strategy have made it possible for marketers to get in touch with potential customers much more easily than before. Back in the day, this would mean getting out there and actually talking to people face-to-face. This strategy, while still important, isn’t necessary as much as it used to be. With many different platforms available โ€“ including Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn โ€“ it’s much less labor-intensive to reach out to potential customers than it was in the past.

The result is that marketers can be more effective in their approach, and so the role of the copywriter has changed accordingly.

How Has Technology Affected The Evolution Of The Copywriter’s Role?

As we discussed in the previous section, the ability to reach out to customers and potential customers and the ability to engage with them online have changed the way that copywriters approach their work. While the nature of the work hasn’t changed, the means of accomplishing it have changed, and so the results have changed, too.

The development of the internet allowed for content to be easily consumed and shared across different platforms. This provided more opportunities for businesses to be found by people who were willing to listen to what they had to say. In short, the internet has made it much easier for marketers to get their point across and has changed the role of the copywriter accordingly.

Other technologies that have emerged since the 1800s, such as SEO and social media, have only made things easier for marketers. With SEO, or search engine optimization, marketers can use keywords and phrases to gain a higher ranking in search results for their chosen terms. This allows them to get their content in front of potential customers who are searching for the topic of their blog or business.

With social media, marketers can have a conversation with potential customers and develop a relationship with them, regardless of whether they’re based in cyberspace or the real world. This is something that would have been nearly impossible to achieve in the past.

The result is that the nature of the work hasn’t changed, but the way we go about doing it has changed. While we can’t pinpoint exactly when the evolution of the copywriter’s role started, we can say with confidence that it’s changed, and will continue to change, forevermore.