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Let's face it, making a viral brand video is a marketer's Holy Grail. From the classic sneezing baby panda to the more recent human Gumby dog toy, viral videos pop up out of nowhere and swiftly take the Web by storm, amassing millions of views, shares, and press hits along the way.

With that much social love up for grabs, it's not just YouTube power users and the staff at Buzzfeed who should take note. Marketing leaders must, too.

From the tiniest startups in Silicon Valley (or in my case, Silicon Hills) to the largest global organizations—both consumer and B2B—marketers are pouring more resources into video. Why? Well, besides Internet fame and the personal satisfaction of being able to say "I did that" at your next company happy hour, 77% of consumers have been convinced to purchase something based on a video they've seen, research finds.

Now imagine the millions of views and engagements that viral videos command, and suddenly we're talking real ROI.

Of course, wanting to launch a viral video and actually doing it are two completely different things. There's never a guarantee that your video will be a hit; and, as more businesses create videos, the competition for attention will only increase.

If your company really wants a shot at joining the ranks of video hall-of-famers, here are five steps I recommend.

1. Tell a story worth sharing

If you're going to spend the time and money to create a beautiful, high production video (and you should), you want to make sure the result is shareable. Consumers love to share videos: Social video generates a whopping 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Jim Rudden

Jim Rudden is chief marketing officer of a social software company Spredfast, where he is responsible for worldwide brand, product, and revenue marketing.

LinkedIn: Jim Rudden

Twitter: @jimrudden