YouTube’s a great place to post and watch videos (duh), but it’s also the perfect forum for you to provide quick links to your site, your album on iTunes, or your one-stop CD Baby page. What better time to provide someone with a direct route to purchase your music than when they’re already listening to your songs and/or staring at your pretty face?
If you can keep people in the moment, you’re much more likely to keep them engaged. Folks are finicky. Some of them won’t even bother to do a Google search for your music, or they’ll mean to and then forget two seconds later. Take the work out of it for them. Provide a link to more of your content, and keep them focused on you and your music.
YouTube provides a couple of easy ways to add links to your videos:
In the description box – This is the spot where you add text and info about your video. If you put a link there, making sure the “http://” part is included, it will automatically be formatted into a clickable link. You could add a direct link to your CD Baby page where the song in the video is available for purchase.
Keep in mind that the description box is collapsed by default, so only the first line of text is visible unless the viewer clicks the “Show more” bar. So, you might want to hedge your bets and put your link in that first line, to make sure it’s always available.
Annotations – These are the little bubbles or lines of text that show up in the actual viewing pane of videos. Annotations are a somewhat new feature on YouTube, and something that should be used sparingly and tactfully to make sure they’re not obtrusive or annoying. You can’t hyperlink directly to external sites through YouTube Annotations, but you can link to other videos, channels, playlists, etc. You can ask people to subscribe. Also, you can add text to you annotations encouraging people to click the link in the description box. If you get creative with them, you can incorporate them into your videos in interesting and useful ways. (Add lyrics? Video commentary? etc.)
Annotations are easy to use, but a little tricky to understand at first. If you want a quick crash course, check out this helpful how-to from YouTube’s support section (http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=92710).
You can also add links in any comments you make on YouTube, and this can be really helpful if you do it in a constructive way. If someone asks you about your music, provide a link along with your response. Or if you think your music is relevant to a comment you’re making on someone else’s video, include it there.
As with everything, avoid seeming spammy. Don’t link to your music on random pages, and don’t inundate people with an annoying amount of links. Make them available, well-formatted, and easy to find. That way, if people are interested, they won’t have to look far to find more info about you and your music.