Content, the ‘benefit of the benefit’ headline

Dive a bit deeper, change your thinking and you'll get more reach

This one is so simple; it’s almost too good to be true. Stolen with pride from ‘A Self-Help Guide for Copywriters’ by Dan Nelken.  

‘The benefit of the benefit’

This means you think beyond the first obvious benefits of your product. You dive a bit deeper, and you think about what the benefit of that benefit is – for your customer, not for you. 

See the two plus one examples below.


Why it matters

For your customers, after the visual catches the first attention, second, they read the headline. If that tickles, only then they check out the rest of the content.

If you, a copywriter or content producer, or for f*cks sake even as a marketer, you force yourself to think one step further, you’ll get a catchier headline. The benefit of a better headline is that more people will read it and maybe even check out the rest of your content. 

What works for headlines also works for titles and social captions.

Nowadays, most headlines are pretty boring and lame.

The reason is that writing a great headline is damn difficult. It takes time and effort, and some serious thinking. Copywriting, as well as content creation, is a craft for a reason.

With this tip from Dan Nelken, you can bring your headline to the next level and reach your audience. 


The benefit of the benefit

Easiest to explain by example.

Kids playhouse example

  • You buy a playhouse for your kids
  • The benefit of that playhouse is that the kids will have fun
  • The benefit of that benefit is that you’ll have a break from your kids


Dog's bed example

  • You buy a nice bed for your beloved dog
  • The benefit of that bed is that your dog will love it and sleep in it
  • The benefit of that benefit is that you’ll have more space in your own bed


 benefit of the benefit by Dan Nelken


How to get it

All you need to do is think beyond the obvious – from your customers' perspective.

  1. Get old-school pen and paper. That sparks more creativity than using a laptop
  2. Make a list of all the benefits of your product
  3. Per benefit, write down the benefit of that benefit. It's key to shift yourself into your customers' perspective; what does the benefit do for them? 
  4. Work out the complete list before diving into a specific one. The more you have, the more you can choose from. The good ones will emerge and rise to the surface once you've finished the entire list
  5. If you’re stuck, ask yourself, ‘what’s the unexpected, obvious, helpful, interesting, funny, convenient, comforting, amazing, wild, beautiful, weird, …, … benefit of the benefit?


Another example

You are looking for a Content Strategist; there is no need for permanent and full-time – once you have your content strategy in place, you are good to go for about 6 to 12 months. So, you are looking for a freelancer.

Here I am, Fleur Willemijn, the freelance Senior Content Strategist.

The benefit of hiring me is that you get a senior to get the job done. Hence, my initial headline would be ‘Senior Content Strategist to get your content strategy in place.’

The benefit of my seniority is that I work faster (fewer hours needed), I deliver within days (fewer days needed), and I have seen all pitfalls (on-point first concept). Therefore, in the end, it’s cheaper to hire me, even at a higher rate, as I need fewer hours to get the job done.

My new headline: ‘Content Strategist, you get your first concept within a week, faster and cheaper than you might imagine.’

It’s catchier and more on-point about what problem I’m solving for my customer.

Same as buying ‘time away from your kids’ or ‘a bigger bed for yourself.’


Final words

The benefit of the benefit. A great tool to get your headlines for your content and social and stand out from the crowd. 

If you need more copy inspiration, I highly recommend getting Dan’s book ‘A Self-Help Guide for Copywriters.’ Not only for more details on the benefit of the benefit, also tons or more great tips and tricks. 

As he says himself, Note: This is also an excellent resource for people who dislike copywriters. Maybe you’re a client, a designer, or even worse, in a relationship with a copywriter. Learn these tips, and soon you’ll be able to easily point out errors in their work and make the fragile copywriter in your life feel even more insecure.’

And if you’re looking for a freelance Content Strategist, you know whom to call.


self help guide for copywriters 


Fleur Willemijn van Beinum

If you, a copywriter or content producer, or for f*cks sake even as a marketer, you force yourself to think one step further, you’ll get a catchier headline.

Fleur Willemijn van Beinum