This past year has been difficult for the roofing industry for many reasons, from navigating a global pandemic to enduring supply shortages. But if it helped prove anything, it’s that the roofing industry is able to endure and adapt.
For many roofing businesses, 2020 and 2021 either made or broke them. Among them was Roofing Contractor, and like others in the roofing industry, we faced the challenge head on and adapted to remain the industry’s premier source for information on all things roofing.
This year marks Roofing Contractor’s 40th anniversary covering the roofing industry. As we celebrate this milestone — especially in the light of the past year — we are proud to have emulated the innovative roofing professionals and roofs we’re constantly writing about by becoming better and more efficient.
“These are times we won’t soon forget, and I am continually surprised and encouraged by the spirit and innovation we’ve captured and have been able to share through our coverage,” said RC Publisher Jill Bloom. “It’s truly been a privilege and honor to be part of this industry for this long, and we have a lot to look forward to.”
As the roofing industry continues to evolve, so will Roofing Contractor in its mission to provide content that puts residential, commercial, and industrial roofing contractors first. To truly appreciate just how much evolution has occurred, we’re taking a look back at our story and what the future holds for the industry’s top publication.
Preparing a Publication
Roofing Contractor began as an idea with Danny Carson, owner of Lee County Metal and Roofing. He lamented that there wasn’t an independent trade magazine focusing on roofing contractors, so Carson decided to start one. He brought on Rick Damato, who worked in outside sales in the industry, to provide support.
Damato contributed on a regular basis since the magazine’s inception, later becoming its editor at large when Carson sold the magazine to another publisher. From there, BNP Media acquired the magazine and became its publisher, renaming it to Roofing Contractor in the 1990s. Damato became the editor in early 1999 and assumed his current role as editorial director as he focused his attention on managing logistics and distribution centers in the wholesale roofing supply business.
“It was originally known as Roofer Magazine,” Damato recalled. “(Carson’s) vision was an independent trade publication with content focused exclusively on the roof-contracting business. I wish Danny were still around so I could thank him.”
Building a Better Publication
It wasn’t long after that BNP Media brought on Bloom to serve as the magazine’s publisher. She helped bring the magazine into the digital age by establishing an online presence to keep up with the changes taking place in the roofing and publishing worlds. The brand was among the first business-to-business publications with content and advertiser-sponsored content.
Like the roofing industry, RC was at a crossroads when the digital age arrived. With information becoming easier to access than ever before thanks to the internet and prevalence of personal computers and devices, BNP Media sought to change with the times. BNP Media laid the groundwork to convert its publications to become entirely digital within three years.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
Much like the roofing industry we cover, RC had to adapt if it was going to survive. RC’s parent company again moved boldly when the game-changing pandemic arrived and decided to accelerate its digital transition from three years to three months. And much like roofing businesses that are discovering the benefits of new technology and platforms, we wondered why we didn’t do it sooner!
Not only were operations streamlined to deliver more content, the new eMagazine proved to be a hit with users. No longer bound by the limitations of a print product, the eMagazine allows viewers to browse stories at their leisure from anywhere and on any device. Instead of static photos and words, readers are now treated to dynamic graphics, animations and videos that enrich the reading experience.
RC’s coverage of the industry also expanded beyond the written word. Now readers can watch and listen to high-quality content in the form of video interviews and its newly-launched RC Podcast Show.
All of this only enhances RC’s current offerings, including webinars, free eNewsletters, blogs, and more, all of which can be found on RC’s redesigned website that makes finding content easier than ever. And just to be sure you’re reading the latest industry news, follow us on our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube pages.
“From the beginning, in spite of the misgivings of many people for whom I have a great deal of respect, I have been thrilled by this turn of events,” Damato said. “It’s clear that it makes less and less sense to print and mail when the digital world offers so much more. BNP Media pledged to focus the resources formerly spent on printing and mailing to invest in new and better digital technologies. They have not disappointed.”
Aside from the pandemic, this past year has also been about making the roofing industry more inclusive than ever. RC is committed to covering underrepresented voices in roofing, whether it’s the growing number of women entering the industry or professionals from all races and backgrounds who are making a difference.
In that vein, RC want to tell the best stories in roofing, period — and sometimes roofers are the best at doing that. We’ve opened our guest column and blog sections to the industry, and encourage anyone with a great story to tell, or an idea to share, to join us.
Should you want to literally join us, take part in our annual Best of Success conference. It has grown to become one of the top networking and idea-sharing events in the industry and features presentations from experienced industry leaders. The 17th annual conference takes place in Frisco, Texas Sept. 19-21.
The past 40 years has seen a multitude of earth-shattering changes and advances in both roofing and trade publications. But one thing that will never change is that RC will always be about serving the contractor, and we look forward to many more years of providing the content that helps you and your business succeed.