By Jessica Goodfellow, Media Reporter

February 15, 2016 | 3 min read

The International New York Times, ITN and the Institute of Digital Marketing (IDM) gathered at The Drum’s Content Marketing Breakfast 2016 to talk on how publishers and brands are being braver than ever before in collaborating with one another to produce branded content.

At a time when media consumption habits are splintering faster than they ever have done, Simon Baker, head of branded content at ITN Productions, Joe Edwards, an advisory board member for the IDM and Kaylee King-Balentine, director at The International New York Times’ T Brand Studio discussed how to find innovative ways to get content out, and how to be more engaging in what is shared with viewers in order to increase brand engagement.

Paid media is a key strategy to gaining more control over your content, said Edwards, as well as partnering with publishers in the right sectors to create seamless campaigns that avoid one of the biggest threats to advertisers yet - ad blockers.

Since people are wiser to the way ads are served to them, the Internatioanl New York Times, ITN and the IDM all agreed being transparent about what you do is of upmost importance.

Branded content experts Simon Baker and Kaylee King-Balentine warned brands to do more to create content in a natural way rather than forcing it; letting content "breathe" by creating content that your audience is genuinely interested in.

The New York Times did a particularly good job at this through the creation of its 'Women Inmates' series to promote Netflix’s original series Orange is the New Black, which is held up by many industry observers as one of the best recent examples of content marketing since it was such a natural fit with the editorial strategy of the publisher.

Baker talked on the benefits of interactive video content where the viewer chooses their path through a film, which can help brands increase engagement with the content as well as providing the opportunity to change the call-to-action based on the decisions your viewers made. This kind of content has high levels of personalisation, where you take the data from the viewer and create a bespoke film for each person.

In terms of 2016, Baker says the advent of “always on” marketing will flourish, and calls for brands and publishers to be more aware of regularity of content: "Consumers are consuming all the time, and often brands and businesses tend to have these campaign cycles where they have these big campaigns but in between they are not building that base. As Youtube channels benefit from regular content, its time for brands to start to move into this space where they are more regular and more strategic in how they are producing branded content."

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