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In a move that may seem counter-intuitive for a company with coffee bars throughout New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Intelligentsia Coffee offers free home-brew guides to customers on its website. However, from a content marketing standpoint, this strategy is paying off.

Intelligentsia sells its own coffees, teas and brewing-related merchandise, so the brewing guides, which are packaged as one or two-page downloadable PDFs, are brilliant for a number of reasons.

  1. They show a willingness to assist customers free of charge. It’s a value-added product that’s accessible to anyone, even coffee-lovers who aren’t Intelligentsia customers yet.
  1. They help position Intelligentsia Coffee as a true expert in the industry. Good luck finding another coffee establishment that provides step-by-step directions to brew coffee with a siphon pot and cloth filter, or that can explain why it’s vital to pour clockwise when using a Hario V60 in order to achieve even saturation.
  1. They introduce customers to different types of brew-related equipment. Coffee lovers get to check out all kinds of DIY brewing tools that Intelligentsia sells, like the Chemex Brewer Wood Collar or the Eva Café Solo and neoprene warming jacket.EvaSolo
  1. They help customers prepare Intelligentsia’s coffees and teas to maximize flavor. This is important, as Intelligentsia wants to ensure that customers are replicating the quality of the brewing outcome when baristas can’t be there to make it for them.
  1. They are a natural lead-in to Intelligentsia’s home subscription program. Customers who can make delicious coffee and tea at home are more likely to take advantage of scheduled home delivery for their coffee. The subscription model has proved to be not only convenient for the customer, but also effective in helping businesses predict revenue, manage inventory and calculate the lifetime value of the customer.
  1. They complement Intelligentsia’s other how-to offerings. Intelligentsia offers public and private brewing classes, barista classes and roasting tours, and instructional videos on the website.
  1. They help maintain year-round sales. The coffee brand introduces customers to hot-weather options, such as using a toddy to make iced coffee, or cold steeping iced tea to make sure customers are using their products all year.
  1. They make customers feel like connoisseurs. By sharing its knowledge on how to make the perfect cup of joe, Intelligentsia is empowering its customers to be “expert” consumers. And, as is the case with wine, many coffee connoisseurs are willing to pay more money for great coffee.
  1. They’re sharable. Customers share these guides on social media. Check out some of these pins and these tweets about Intelligentsia’s brew guides.
  1. They’re incredibly affordable. Other than some in-house costs for writing and graphic design, the guides are an affordable marketing option for the business.

Creating comprehensive guides for consumers can help a company looking to maximize brand awareness, position itself as an authority in the field and provide valuable content to its audience.