Follow Me on Pinterest Welcome to Gael McCarte's FOCUS MATTERS

Welcome to Gael McCarte's FOCUS MATTERS

That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
Steve Jobs

Carnival barking cyber style

Online scams abound. You are in your own home. It is just you and the screen, and that promise. The face is young, fresh. Does it belong to the promoter? How old, or touched up it is. No way to know. You do know you need to use this or that social media and to hone your skills and spend less time flailing around learning.

You register for the free seminar. It’s free, right? At the appointed time guru claims millions of dollars worth of success using her methods, and she is offering them, to you, today, free. She self congratulates and introduces herself, at length, counting all her millions just so you know who you are listening to. She lists her awards, never mind that you have never heard of them. She gives a few free hints or tips. She wants to tell you more, if only she could, but that is part of the package she offers. She says she is rushed. She counts the number attending; you take her word for it. Oh my, the room is filled and more are trying to get in, the excitement builds. Aren’t you the lucky one, you got “in”? She greets different ones with familiarity; they are obviously her inner circle. You can’t see their names. You assume she is telling the truth. If she is so time pressed why is she blethering on like this?

She punctuates her giggles with words like “hugely”…”tons”…”insanely viral”.

For 30 minutes she pitches her “to be paid for” products. How much are they worth? You don’t know. She tells you. A calculator appears, the price is exorbitant, a red line crosses it out, because she likes you and wants to help you she slashes the price again. You hold your breath. Because it is Tuesday or Thursday, or March or December she slashes it again, because you have been soooooo good listening to her she slashes it again, look at that!! For today only for the next hour, a clock appears and counts down, you can buy these hours of teaching for a mere $49.99. She hopes her publisher is not listening as she will not believe this price. So it is naughty and nice at the same time, “mommy” doesn’t know about this. You giggle together.

You do know she is very busy and that her time is precious, right? She is giving you this time. She paid thousands of dollars attending courses to find this information for you (feeling guilty yet), okay, then well, she could be home with her children (now you feel guilty).The only way to assuage your guilt is to buy this now. Wow! She tells you, “look Janelle bought it, and Anna in Florida, and Patty in Seattle, well done girls you will soon be living my life”. She giggles - again.

Unlike Janelle and Anna and Patty you did not buy. Days later you receive an email begging you to invest in your own career. She has been where you are, she knows your pain, the dilemma of “can I afford to invest in myself”? She assures you that success is on the other side of your purchase. There is a hint of “and if you don’t buy this, how stupid are you?”

Ooops! this is a precious commodity and it is available for a short time.  She cannot possibly offer you this product at this affordable price for long. There is another clock or calendar counting down. You have until midnight tonight to buy it. Remember she has been where you are and is offering you a hand up. It’s the old “make ‘em think it is a rare commodity and time is limited” scam.

This approach has become standard fare. Obviously it works, but should the fact it works be the litmus test on its worth or is it the cyber version of carnival barking?



My Puffyfacemoment

In primary school, awkward, legs too long, taller than all the boys, not happy.  When I walked I scraped my feet along the pavement. Nine year old boys, ever the analysts and psychologists told me I did that because I wanted attention. I was a “show off”, I was an “attention pig”. I need to shut my feet up. They would taunt me until I did.

I had no shoes of my own. I wore my mother’s. They were tied on but not very effectively. I had to drag my feet to keep the shoes between my feet and the pavement.

What did I do? I kept scraping, I did well in school, I ignored them, the truth needs no defense. Even at 9 I knew that.



Pinterest is here and it is successful beyond imagination.

Images and links are posted to a virtual board where thoughts are shared visually.

Photographs, quotes, DIY instructions, products and articles from the web are collated, organized and shares.

Pinterest browsers discover new products and are inspired and informed by sharing interests or finding others.

Pinners have to be invited to join. It is not difficult. Go to Pinterest, click on the icon, it may take days or minutes but you will be invited.

It’s contagious. 80% of the pins are repinned. Less than 5% of twitter’s tweets are retweeted.

Pinterest drives more traffic to web sites then Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. It has even over taken Twitter.

Pinterest gained 10 million visitors faster than any other site. And it transports those visitors across the web.

Images are collected, pinned and viewed repeatedly on Pinterest. They do not disappear down a time line or into the twittersphere. Pins initially appear on the “just posted” feed but due to the boards pins have an extended length of exposure. Images are pinned ONCE and repinned by others. No time is spent retweeting or reposting.

Tutorials are invaluable.  They map out visually how to do certain things. A slide show of instructions is easy to compile. Once it has a voice over it can be hung on You Tube. Tutorials can be pinned. Videos get much more exposure than blogs.

Pinning videos straight off of You Tube establishes expertise and credibility.

Product based businesses can demonstrate how to use their products and how it benefits (via testimonials) the viewer to purchase the product.

Videos that contain useful information are popular. They need to be attractive and show viewers how to do things that add value to their lives. They will be repinned and others from that pin will check it out.

CNN says Pinterest is the hottest site. Forbes says major brands are flocking to it. Others call it a cyber portfolio or an on line catalogue of services and products.

Using Pinterest successfully.

The secret: As with all social media be strategic (be clear on what you want to say and to whom, then say THAT and nothing else) and use as few resources possible to get the best results. Know the best times to pin your pins for maximum viewing.

Quick: With new sites you have one year to become a part of the first wave of those who will use it strategically. Get there first and position yourself as a leader in your industry.  Even if you are in a saturated market place you can get advantage in Pinterest before everyone else figures it out.

Learn short cuts.

It is permissible to stand on the shoulders of others. You do this by knowing what others know and taking it further.  Look for tutorials on You Tube, go to Pinterest Help.  The wheel has been invented, don’t spend precious time re-inventing it.

Naming it, maximize your exposure by putting your name and your product in your Pinterest name. 

Key Words: What key words will others use  to find you? Those are the words to use. Use them in your posts, your descriptions and your name. Those words are the superhighway down which potential clients travel, on a mouse, to find you.

About you: In this section put what you do, press you have had, interviews, testimonials, products, services, logo, website.

Share results, testimonials. Pin what another pinner said about your pin. Post it in the caption under the picture. Before and after - pin it visually.

Quotes are a virally popular. Go to It helps you rewrite a quote and pin it. Pinterest has an easy video instruction to follow.

1 -Display your Bookmarks Bar by clicking View > Toolbars > Bookmarks Toolbar

  • 2 -Drag the “Pin A QUOTE” button to your Bookmarks Toolbar

Boards: Be strategic in your boards titles. They need to relate to what you do but be different enough to draw in interested clients.  If you sell quality yarn your boards could feature crocheting, knitting or other yarn hungry crafts, including activities to do with children on rainy non school days (knit a scarf on huge needles. It is one time little time, little skill = great result).

If you are selling a how to book on furniture repair have boards on choosing colors, paints and products, decorating.  This method will pull those with related interests to your selling boards. Some of your boards will be more popular than others.  Track what is of interest to your viewers and focus on that.

Board Covers: You may want to set a particular image as your board cover, it will remain at the top of you board display until you change it. It will be the largest image seen and will remain at the top when a viewer looks at your boards. Place your cursor over the image, you will be given choices to edit or make it the cover, click on the cover. When the screen appears, position the image in the frame click on “set cover” and it will move into place.

Create pins. Create a beautiful image illustrating what you are teaching on your site. Info graphics are a goldmine. Combine relevant information into an appealing image.

Pin it contests: Pin it to win it is an insanely popular contest. Ask pinteresters to repin your pin. Give a prize to someone who repins it. Each repin is an entry to the contest. Someone will win the prize you win by gaining huge free exposure.

Pricing: Add a price to the object and Pinterest will place a price banner on the top left corner of the image and they will place your item in the gift section by price. If your item is 99 cents list it as $0.99, it needs the pound or dollar sign to activate the banner and gift placement.

Have a call to action. CTA call to action - tell them what you want them to do. Create an intriguing and attractive image. Images with a CTA receive over 70% more clicks than those without. Adding a simple phrase like: “You will want to see how this is done” and add a link to the You Tube video,  “You should see how this product was used to …” and follow with a link to your website and video, or “Follow the link to the slide tutorial on how to …” or “5 ways to successfully …” and link it to your blog post.

How to get followers - add a “follow me to pinterest” button on all of  your other social media sites and your blog. ‘Pinterest help’ shows you how easy it is to embed “follow me to Pinterest” buttons on your sites. Read the instructions click your mouse, cut and paste and it is done. Post the link on twitter, on Facebook. Follow others and they will follow you. See those who have repinned you, they are interested in what you offer. See who follows or pins them, those are the ones you want to follow, follow them, repeat. A percentage will follow you back. Comment on other pins and repin the work of others to support them.

Read the instructions: Pinterest gives step by step instructions on how to pin a product, or how to do other things. They continually modify and update their procedures. Keep current. You Tube tutorials constantly pop up suggesting other uses for various sites, watch them.

In the beginning Pinterest discouraged you from only selling products. They still want you to sponsor and add value to others. Have fun, learn to master it. It will teach you how. Simply follow the instructions and hopefully you will sell or extend your influence and meet others with interesting pursuits.

Deadly Pleasures: The author speaks

Mary Firmin

Mary Firmin author of  Deadly Pleasures is a vibrant, irrepressible character. As her diverse topics indicate she is interested in life and all its facets. Her family always supported her writing. Her mother suggested she become a newspaper reporter.  Mary wishes now that, “I had done what she suggested”.

She jokes about being an “over night” success after only 25 years of writing. Short stories, a book about Haiti, titled Voodoun Fire, co-writing a screenplay, Rhumba, about Cuba in Revolution add to her writing mix. Relocating to the Desert she wrote a society column. Transitioning from political revolution to society in print was, in her words, “great fun”.

Always interested in reading, as a child she devoured books by, Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Charles Dickens or about Sherlock Holmes.  Mary says that being British born “developed my taste for mysteries very early in life”.

Meticulous about details Mary uses only the most current information available in research. As forensic textbooks “…go out of date very fast” she haunts the Internet. She encourages authors to mine for information wherever possible, including hiring researchers or asking knowledgeable friends.

For Deadly Pleasures she researched erotic bondage and the apparatus used.  Being dedicated to research, she and her husband visited a store in West Hollywood “which had everything imaginable hanging from the ceiling or tacked to the walls”.  She was fascinated by “what people will do to each other for a thrill or two”.

Deadly Pleasures was written over to three years, excluding the years’ long break she took mid book. 

With writing, writing becomes much easier. Deadly Pleasures was birthed without a plan. She “stumbled along”. The book required constant editing. She concludes “Most writing is re-writing”. She is fortunate that she loves to “re-write, tweak and perfect”.

An insomniac, instead of sleeping she wrote at night in a quiet house. The phone did not ring, no visitors called and there was no one to feed or cook for. 

She encourages writers with, “It’s never too late.  If you have a story you want to tell, just Start. Harold Robbins told me ‘You need some ass glue to keep you on the chair until you finish 5-10 pages.’ Then you can leave. They don’t have to be perfect; you just have to get something on the page.  When you come back to it the next day that is when the re-writing begins and that is fun. Then you write another 5-10 pages.  Hopefully you then take it to your writers group and they tell you it is wonderful - or not.”

This book gave Mary her voice.  With it she will write a Trilogy of  Deadly Books featuring Megan and Matt and the other characters in Deadly Pleasures. Angelle, Matt’s partner will loom larger in the next book titled Deadly Secrets.

Her husband gave her a book publishing package for Christmas, 2010.  Sadly he passed away six months later. The book took on even greater importance as the crucial part of editing and preparing the cover began right after he passed. While it did not eliminate her grief, she says, “at the time it did mitigate it, somewhat”.

Her writing, editing and new grandson kept her from “falling apart”.  Her husband’s gift helped her fulfill her lifelong dream. She said “it will forever be tied to my love for my husband”.

Mary discusses her characters. “Megan, the heroine, is a real estate salesperson, a recovering alcoholic, and at the moment almost broke. Her three wealthy friends are unhappy with their cheating husbands. They hire a time-share Boy Toy to fill their needs, unaware he is a suspect in a series of gruesome Bondage Murders.”

Megan and her friends are not left alone. “Detective Matt Donovan investigates the murders and Megan falls madly in love with him. The book is set in the wealthy yachting community of Southern California, Venice Beach, Marina del Rey, Malibu and Catalina Island.”

Mary emphasizes that accurately recording how the days flow is vital. Tuesday always follows Monday, even in fiction. Mary stringently brainstormed timelines with a writer of Historical Romance. Mary said, “It was a marvelous lesson for me. Her books spanned years, my book covers a couple of weeks. I had trouble even with that timeline. Getting the exact days and dates right that events, or murders occurred, takes diligence. You have to leave “today” and refer back in time, enter confusion.”

Mary now lays events out before, and after the fact, to recheck the chronology of everything that happened. Using this method she said, “I eventually got it right.  The murder suspects’ alibis demanded I keep the time line correct. For my second novel Deadly Secrets, I have written a detailed synopsis.  It will be faster and easier doing it this way”.

Mindful of her readers Mary said, “I want my readers to have fun. I work hard to make my writing invisible allowing the reader to experience the story. I want them to laugh with my characters and cry with them. I want them to feel the emotions of betrayal, sadness and even the joy. I want them to feel bad for the murdered girls and be angry at the killer.  Not asking much, am I?”



For audience attention retention try this formula


Glenna Salsbury, CSP, CPAE has an impressive lineup of speaking credits to her name. She is a warm and “real” person. She engages with those she meets as equals, as human beings not as “target audiences”. Last July she was the keynote speaker at the National Speakers Association convention.

She shared her time tested formula for speaking success. She gave Lois Creamer permission to share it. Here it is! PSA

P = Point

S = Story

A = Application

Sounds good, it’s crisp. Simple enough for most to recall easily PSA, PSA, PSA. I got it.

In my other life, on a continent half a world away in my duties as a psychologist working with violent, highly likely to re-offend criminals I facilitated group therapy sessions. We began with the point or the theory, eyes glazed over. We lost them. I mean LOST THEM and never got them back. They soared and zoomed and impatiently passed the time until coffee was served. They did not ever come back for the story or application.

Undefeated my diving into the theory of learning (oh my! we have learned a lot since my graduate studies days) I decided to do something outrageous. I applied the findings of the open universities. These are academic catchment think tanks for non academics. Their findings led their classroom practice. They learned that with the non academically trained, present application first them theory.

Eventually I dragged my co-facilitator into the change of agenda. We flipped the material. We hooked them with the application and they stayed hooked. Same material, same crowd, different results. I mean DIFFERENT RESULTS measured by client engagement and retention of material.   Reoffending rates were beyond the scope of my ability to track.

Unless you are addressing highly academized brilliants I suggest you try this, Application first then Theory (point, goal etc), I call it A.T., it’s where it’s AT.


Focus on social media


Social media is where the world teaches, learns chats, socializes and buys. It is where the people you want to reach lurk. Ignore them at your influence peddling, audience/platform building, selling peril. Fact: There are more facebook users than people in Europe.

Warning: Social media is filled with shiny things that distract. You have to focus, determine what your goal is. If it is to master a social media site do only that, refuse to lose focus. Refuse I say!

Key Concept: Effective social media use is focused on connecting with others. You have to hone your focus further to connect in a way that those people feel like they have a friend in your business. Your new friends have connections, who have connections. You own and program the content you send them. You have to identify for them, sometimes in 140 characters or less what you and your company does for them and how it benefits the human condition. And you get to do this for free or very minimal cost.

The question is NOT if you should use social media, but which avenues will you use. You need to understand it. Now do not be overwhelmed, not all of it, just those that will work for you. Listen if an 8 year old can do this, you can too.

Counting counts: The pathway to social media success is lined with the self audit. Gather feedback, analyze the stats that tell you what is succeeding and what is not? Your connections are a great resource, tell them that their opinions matter and demonstrate it by asking for feedback. Negative and offensive content must be removed. Do not be derailed by it. Listen to worthy feedback, analyze it and adjust your course.

Recap: Focus on your message, your target audience, reach them in a manner that builds trust, ask for feedback and self audit. If you do this you will create a cyber community that gathers around the passion people have for your message, product, services or books.  Interaction is the mechanism of this engine, focus is the fuel.

Blogging rocks: Whatever you are selling a blog is a must for promotion. Your blog is your informational hub. But it only works if it is read. When it is read ask your readers to follow you on your other sites, and to sign up for your newsletters or info-emails

When you release a product, a new cupcake, a book, a service, or if you repackage an established product post an announcement with an excerpt, a testimonial and a photograph to your blog. Email it to your newsletter subscribers. Send the information to your facebook group of potential clients. Link your sites so a message to one is a message to all. Potential clients will read your message and view your photographs at work, on their laptops, their iphones or other devices. They will be on trains, at work, at leisure. One quick announcement can increase your sales immediately.

The most immediate sales will come from those who heard the news on your blog, newsletter, email, twitter and your other advertising channels. Word of mouth and repeat customers will keep them coming.

Now focus and go do it!!