Q&A with Kaylee King-Balentine, Director at TBrand Studio International, The New York Times

Kaylee King-Balentine_google

At The New York Times Kaylee leads the editorial, creative and video direction on all international Paid Posts and works alongside the international sales teams to develop new global business for the Studio. Previously she headed up branded entertainment at The Weather Channel and was director of program-ming at Aol.com. She is also an Emmy Award-winning producer and OMMA and Digiday award-winning director.

Q: Why is now a relevant time to be launching these awards?

Kaylee It’s exciting to see native advertising and content getting its day in the sun on the awards circuit.

Q: What is different about these awards?

Kaylee: Often times the creative that gets recognized in advertising awards are for direct marketing campaigns and TVCs, the World Media Awards are a great step in the right direction for recognizing powerful storytelling in the branded content space.

Q: Are content-driven communications, customised content, native advertising, sponsored content, brand journalism, owned media and branded content the same thing?

Kaylee: Native advertising is really about where the ad unit is placed within a web page, branded content/brand journalism/customized content is what those units are filled with.

Q: What does good native content look like?

Kaylee: From a publisher’s perspective, good native content should first and foremost be relevant for the audience coming to the site every day. It should also be of the quality the audience is expecting of your publication.

Q: Why should brands use native content – what is it best suited to achieve?

Kaylee: Custom content is a great opportunity for brands to build loyalty and sentiment from their audience. Through great storytelling, a brand can humanize itself and become more relatable.

Q: Why are consumers embracing branded content?

Consumers are tired of ads screaming in their face. Great branded content serves as insight and entertainment rather than an annoyance.

Q: Are there any pitfalls to avoid in content-driven marketing?

Kaylee: Don’t be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In order to do truly remarkable branded content, a brand needs to jump in with both feet. A brand should become part of the conversation rather than try to force it. This can be achieved through relevant and timely content and also by letting the hard sell brand message sit in the backseat while the storytelling drives the car.

Q: What should clients look for in a native advertising/branded content proposal?  And what should they look for in the team who will be delivering it?

Kaylee: A content proposal should answer three questions for clients: 1) Is it interesting? 2) Is it entertaining? 3) Is it on brand? There are many players in this space, but the most successful ones are the teams who can tell great stories, entertain their audiences and still maintain the brand’s ethos.

See more interviews / Judges’ views on what makes great, content-led, international advertising.

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