“Charlie Bit My Finger – Again,” “Evolution of Dance,” “David After the Dentist” – what do all these titles have in common? Aside from being ridiculously funny, they are all popular YouTube videos that people took an immediate liking to and felt compelled to share with others. Although most of the creators were intending to do nothing but share their humorous moments with the world, they were able to stumble upon gold and generate the type of responses the average marketer lusts for.

So how does one create a YouTube video that becomes the next viral sensation? There really is no magic formula. In fact, a lot of it boils down to luck and execution. Simple as that. And while there is no official list of ingredients, there are some things we have learned in regards to what you can do to create a YouTube hit.

Make a Great Video: The rules for producing a viral YouTube video are anything but hard and fast, but in most cases, it really is as simple as making a great video. Your content will fail to make an impact if it does not appeal to the people who take the time to view it. So what makes a great video? That all depends, but according to the hits we have seen over the last couple of years, some qualities of a great video may include:

Humor – The element of humor is behind the success of several YouTube sensations. Everyone appreciates a good laugh or two, so naturally, this is the type of content many people deem as share-worthy. As long as it is appropriate for your brand and target audience, the humorous approach can be highly effective.

Inspirational – Content that inspires can be just as effective by drawing the viewer in through the power of emotion.

Short and Sweet – YouTube has slowly been increasing the length limit on video uploads, but that doesn’t mean you should aim to make your content as long as possible. Some of the biggest viral hits have actually been brief, yet informative enough to get the point across.

Don’t Break the Bank: Video marketing can be very affordable, especially when you are using YouTube as your marketing platform. In fact, many successful videos have been made with little to no budget. While there is certainly nothing wrong with investing in your project, keep in mind that there are a number of students and amateur filmmakers who would be willing to lend their equipment and expertise just to get their name out there.

Get the Word Out: The size of the YouTube community alone is enough to make your video a viral phenomenon. Still, there are efforts you can make to help the word travel faster. Facebook, Twitter and email are just a few examples of channels that will enable easy sharing for the people who run across your content.

Protect Your Content: It would be a shame for someone to take the concept of your hit YouTube video and claim it as their own. Something like this could very well happen if you do not take copyright protection into consideration. You automatically own the content you produce, but Content ID and other YouTube copyright tools may be able to provide you with added protection.

Keep at It: Even a well rounded video marketing strategy is not guaranteed to make you a YouTube superstar overnight. Going viral isn’t easy, and several marketers who make that their intent fail miserably. Draw up your game plan, execute your strategy and look at the bigger picture by realizing that YouTube hits aren’t built in a day. (Except when they are, but that’s the internet for you.)