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A collection of building materials marketing trends and insights focused on helping building product manufacturers BLD their brand.

Earning Your Spot in the Industry Conversation

Earning Your Spot in the Industry Conversation

Article Date: December 13, 2022

How Your Building Products Brand Can Drive Credibility with a Powerful Earned Media Strategy

Whether you manufacture windows, exterior cladding, insulation, or a multitude of building products for today's modern construction environment, your marketing program should be comprised of a strategic mix of the three types of media for it to have true impact—paid, owned, and earned media. They all play a major role in raising the level of awareness for your brand in a crowded marketplace. They each have their purpose, and audiences react differently to your message dependent upon the channel that is delivering that message.

Earned media is any organic coverage of your organization that has not been published on your owned channels (website, blog, social media) nor have you paid for it (sponsored content, Google Ads, print ads, programmatic, etc.).

Earned media is highly sought after by organizations of all kinds.


It is the most difficult to obtain, and it delivers something critical at much higher levels than other forms of media: Credibility.

Paid media in the form of advertising (print or digital) should certainly be part of any effective marketing strategy. It raises your awareness in the market. It can even be more impactful when it is engineered to drive traffic to your website, thereby nurturing leads and working to convert them into sales for the organization. At the same time, your prospects and customers understand that your building products brand has full control over the advertising messages you deliver. They are not filtered through a third party.

In the building materials industry, when you can coordinate with an editor of a trade media publication to be featured in an article about manufacturers making a splash, or a round-up featuring your recently launched product, you instantly garner more credibility with your audience. Your prospective buyers will more readily trust information from a third-party source. Liken it to word-of-mouth advertising, which is some of the most powerful, compelling promotion of a brand’s products and services.

Effective earned media efforts on behalf of a building products company should stretch beyond the promotion of products, innovations, and company news for possible coverage. When you shape a compelling company point of view on universal, impactful industry subjects – energy efficiency, sustainability, installation considerations, materials science, supply chain optimization, operations, and more – you can often secure opportunities to share that perspective and expertise with the media. Perhaps your subject matter experts can be positioned as go-to-sources with valuable insight and perspective, making them ripe to be interviewed by the media. Or, you can develop authored content, turning your SME into a guest columnist or contributor for the trade media. In both cases, you increase your share of voice in the industry dialogue and raise the credibility and visibility of your brand.

Again, the coverage is earned. You don’t own the means of delivering the content, and you are not paying for it to be delivered.

A Shifting Landscape

Twenty years ago, the internet was in its infancy, and digital marketing was more of a phenomenon than the norm. Building products manufacturers seeking to gain exposure in either local or national trade media were limited to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio

Enter the digital era.

Once-popular print newspapers have gone entirely digital or have disappeared completely. Magazines have maintained momentum, but many readers now prefer to consume this content digitally. This has driven news outlets everywhere to adapt to new consumption habits and begin to experiment with new ways of delivering the news.

What opportunities does this afford building products companies and their PR firms coordinating with the media?

The shifting landscape has ushered in a host of important considerations for building materials manufacturers telling their stories through earned media channels, and it can impact the manner in which they produce content. Your building products brand needs to carefully consider how it goes about telling a story and seeking earned media coverage. Does it mean investing more heavily in video since such an asset drives greater engagement online? Is your brand developing infographics that are also tailor-made for a quick-read digital environment?

Content assets such as news releases and case studies remain an important component of any earned media program. They enable you to share news about your company's products or innovations, and they provide you with an avenue to feature your solution in a real-world scenario. Journalists covering the construction industry will respond to such assets, because they carry news value with them and are potentially relevant to a publication's audience.

With that said, digital news outlets by their very nature are opening up creative avenues for building product brands and the PR professionals that support those brands. Does this warrant allocating more marketing dollars to produce video for your online push for awareness now that news outlets can support this type of content online?

How critical is social media, and how does it factor into your earned media strategy?

The Role of Social Media

Widespread adoption of social media over the last 10 years has altered how customers interact with your brand. It has also changed how you build trust with your audience.

When it comes to earned and social media, the lines can be blurred. A post on your social channels is owned. However, as soon as a customer shares it with their own caption or opinion on your post, it becomes earned media.

This is why it is so vital to have an active, engaging, and trustworthy social media presence. Users are relying more on your social media activity, positive online reviews, and completely organic posts from previous customers to influence their opinion on whether or not to buy from you. According to Sprout Social, “How your brand behaves, how good your product is, and how interesting your content is are all things that you can control. The more you do these things on a consistent basis, the more likely you'll receive social media shoutouts.”

In an ever-growing digital purchasing environment, these could prove valuable in persuading a prospective customer to purchase from you.

Target demographics are important to consider. Millennials make up 35 percent of the U.S. workforce, and the number of Gen Z workers is growing by year. Both age groups have grown up with significant exposure to the internet, and this impacts how they interact with, trust, and buy from brands. According to National Merchants, “The way that social media has exploded in the relatively short amount of time that it’s been in existence has had a profound effect on young people, particularly Gen Zers. They use it to connect with the world, share updates, and now, more than ever, influence their purchases.”

In sum, earned media is no longer just what is said about your organization in popular industry trade publications. In years to come and as influencer marketing grows, what you earn on social media will have even more of a profound impact on the perceived trustworthiness and credibility of your brand.


Successful earned media programs take a collaborative effort of ongoing story mining within your organization to develop valuable content assets about your people, innovations, growth, and so much more. Partnering with a PR agency that can help you tell your story and that has an understanding of the media landscape and how it operates can be essential to your success.

Reach out to BLD Marketing and its experienced team of public relations, content development, and social media practitioners to earn your fair share.

BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.