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Some 60% of B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget this year according to a study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. But it's not enough to just create content anymore; success lies in creating content that engages your audience and motivates them to spread the word.

So the search is on for a "formula" that gets people sharing, and any brand or cause that succeeds is worth learning from.

The most recent success story: the ALS ice bucket challenge. If you somehow haven't seen it on your Facebook feed (or on Good Morning America or the Today show), here's how the challenge works: People post videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness and donations for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease); they then challenge friends to dump water on themselves or donate $100 to the cause.

When I first heard of the campaign, I thought it was silly at best and inappropriate at worst. My grandfather died of ALS four years ago, and as a self-described cynic I was quick to write the challenge off. But after doing some research, and learning that the ALS Association collected $5.7 million in donations within two weeks (almost five times the amount earned during the same timeframe last year), I was ready to give it a second chance.

The truth is, the campaign is raising awareness and funds to fight a debilitating disease. It's also a great case study for content marketers looking to capture the attention of their audiences.

Three Lessons (or Reminders)

Here are three things this particular phenomenon can teach us (or at least remind us) about content marketing.

1. It's unique, simple, and just crazy enough

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Lauren Covello

Lauren Covello manages content marketing at Ripen eCommerce, a full-service digital agency that specializes in building custom marketing and development solutions for online retailers.

LinkedIn: Lauren Covello