At a time when magazines continue to fold, the guys behind ProToolReviews.com decided to expand into print. There are very few magazines still dedicated to the professional tool user and Pro Tool Reviews has chosen to fill that need.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the founders Clint DeBoer and Thomas Gaige who have been running the website for the past five years. They attend every tool media event and are as knowledgeable as anyone about the latest tools and accessories. They’ve smartly assembled an all-star cast of tool bloggers including Hal Jones formerly of Extreme How-To, Robert Robillard of A Concord Carpenter, Todd Fratzel of Tool Box Buzz, Jay Amstutz of Ohio Power Tool and all-around tool expert Michael Springer. All of these guys are in the trade and rely on tools to make a living. You’ll get no BS from this group who have seen it all.
I like how they’ve organized the navigation and you aren’t overwhelmed with options. You can simply browse by tool type, type of trade and their in-depth buying guides. They are also not afraid to have a bit of fun and after a behind-the-scenes video of the new Hobbit movie surfaced they took the time to check out the types of tools the crew was using.
I asked Clint to share some background on the magazine and who and and what it’s for.
“We started the Pro Tool Reviews website back in 2008 with the intention to keep an open mind. While there were a couple decent tool magazines on the market, we really wanted to bring the excitement of a car magazine to the tool world. That’s really what PTR is at its core: Mustang Magazine for tools. The only difference is that we’re targeting business owners and contractors rather than just the individual “driver”. Of course we want to inform the tradesman as well, but we also want to get those guys who make the tool-buying decisions for their whole company.
Manufacturers have been really excited about the magazine. It’s written for Pros, by Pros and that’s something that really seems to hold a lot of clout. Possibly the most surprising thing we did was to come out with our debut issue in March—which is an odd time of year if you’re looking at budgets. We figured we wanted to make sure tool companies and supply companies could get their hands on a bunch of issues and be comfortable with the magazine before we started going full bore on advertising. Had we started right at the budget year we would have been pitching a magazine that had yet to exist.
As a result, people are really getting jazzed up for the latter half of 2013 and early 2014 when they are finally going to be able to be a part of the magazine.
The biggest difference between online and print is that, for a long time, Google has been really manipulating the writing style that works well with search engines. As a result online content has this tendency to become somewhat “homogenized”. Writing for a magazine is exciting because there is simply no SEO to worry about. You can have a really neat intro paragraph that may not even mention the tool or model number. And you don’t need to—you’ve got this gigantic spread that shows the tool right there on the page!
We’re really excited about where Pro Tool Reviews is going and can’t wait until some of our next initiatives come out later this year. We’ve got some pretty big plans, and they will involve tie-ins with some large builders across the country.”
I like that they mention Google which manipulates search results and you often times can’t find the best or most up-to-date information when researching tools. With a magazine that gets delivered each month you no longer have to worry about searching out the right “keywords” or phrases to find what you are looking for online.
If you’re a contractor, builder or just a person who loves tools and misses the tactile feeling of turning the pages of a magazine and seeing tools displayed in all of their glory, then consider subscribing to Pro Tool Reviews. At about $2 an issue you can’t go wrong.
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