How an online newsroom helps Imperial Sugar enhance its message

Website uses a more journalistic style in covering itself, its employees and the industry.

When the federal government issues nutritional guidelines urging Americans to reduce their consumption of sweets, the last place you’d expect to find the news is the website of a sugar company.

But Imperial Sugar’s newsroom has linked to articles about these guidelines. The website has also highlighted not-so-favorable news such as a recent column touting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crusade to stop people from using food stamps to buy sugary drinks.

Imperial is a $1.2 billion company that provides 16 percent of the U.S. sugar supply, and no doubt it has the means to find any bullhorn it chooses to urge you to stir more sugar into your latte. But it has embraced a model that is being hailed by advocates as “brand journalism.”

Imperial is reaching out to contemporary consumers who get most of their news about the industry by typing words into a search window.

“If you’re going to proactively influence what stakeholders think and believe about you,” says CEO John Sheptor, “then you need to communicate with them in the places where they’re receiving information.”

Different from traditional website

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