PR Expert Secrets (Mario Carr): 20 Years In The Field
Hi Mario, tell us a bit about yourself please:
My name is Mario Carr and I was a journalist and skilled in public relations, communications, digital marketing, social media, and event promotions. I’m also a freelance writer living in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
What is your backstory?
I was a journalist and owned a newspaper for the financial community in the late 1980s called Timely Disclosure. I also have a BSc in Physics from McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario Canada.
What did you struggle with when you first started learning your current skills?
I probably over serviced clients and didn’t get fairly compensated for what I was doing. The biggest struggle in any business is running after clients who are slow at paying their bills.
How did you overcome this and become an expert?
In the early 90s I worked for a PR agency in Toronto. I enjoyed talking with the media about potential news stories. I soon realized that need me as mush as I needed them because I could give them good story ideas. The worst thing that a PR person can do to ruin their reputation is provide poor story ideas. That’s just another form of advertising and the media won’t talk to you anymore. In fact they will tell you to talk with the ad department. I don’t think a lot of people don’t know what a story idea is.
Why do you think it’s so crucial to use PR today?
PR is a great way to get your message out not just in the traditional media but on social media as well. You need to be focused on your key message and only release information that has a real story value. Don’t waste the media’s time.
How did you discover your “niche” and how did you know this was what you were gonna be successful with?
I enjoyed the media and helping people promote themselves. I’m an amateur astronomer and starting using PR back in the 90s to promote the Royal Astronomical Society Toronto Centre. At the time they weren’t getting a lot of people out to their events. I started promoting them through newspapers and electronic media. All of a sudden hundreds of people showed up at their event. Within months the president said to me we love what you’re doing but slow down because we can’t handle the crowds.
Later I moved to Burlington, Ontario and joined the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and started promoting them through PR. About 10 years ago I started writing a monthly astronomy column for the local newspapers. All of sudden the membership in the club went from 50 to over 150. No, I’m also on TV promoting astonomy at CHCH-TV Sunday news. in Hamilton. I’ve been doing that since April. Here’s a link to the recent Halloween episode
What should I expect in terms of exposure and benefits after a press release orchestrated by you?
Most people write boiler plate press releases. They don’t work. I try to find a news angle for the client that at least gives them a fighting chance for someone to look at it. Also when I call a journalists and they want something sent to them the release helps sell the story.
For a press release to work you need a catchy headline, lead and a great news worthy story. You also need to put in your contact info. Seems basic but a lot of people don’t do it. You also have to get to the point quickly. Journalist don’t have the time to readd 100 words to figure out what you’re talking about. It should also be formatted right.
I help people do this for them. PR is a long-term game that most people don’t get.
What do you think are the keys to your personal success?
You have to be genuine and want to help people. It’s not about me or the client. It’s about the reader and what they want to see. As soon as clients figure that out the better off they are. If no one wants to buy your product maybe it’s time to think of another product.
What tools do you use for your work?
I love Google, Word and my phone. I’ve also used WordPress, Wix InDesign, MailChimp, Constant Contact, Google Docs and MS Paint.
What are the biggest tips you can give to beginners?
Become a reporter first and learn the news game.
What expert secrets have you discovered along the way that you can share with us?
You need to know how to write and spot a real news story. Calling reporters are crucial. Most PR people don’t follow up. They are afraid of the media and rely on email.
What is your secret weapon/specialty that you do better than all your competitors?
What are the biggest false beliefs people have about your industry/niche and why they are false
I think a lot of clients think the media can be persuded somehow to write unworthy news stories. The media needs good news stories period. They can’t afford to write fluff pieces.
If you were to give people a checklist on how to get started, what would it be?
Is there a mentor (or colleague that you admire), a book, or a course that you would
All the famous astronomers in history.
Where can people find you?
Where can they purchase your services?
Fiverr and Website
Thank you very much for your time! 🙂