Text by Bhumika Vikam
Writing and blogging is a passion for many. Lucky are those who can pen their talent, making it their life and see it all succeed. Blogging is not a ‘quick-rich’ plan but more of a ‘working hard first and then getting to reap your award’ type of a plan.
While only a few bloggers make it big, it takes sheer personal willpower and the love for their art and passion to stick to something that may or may not bring in the dough.
The Lifestyle Portal met up with Anushree Chatterjee Patni, a 34-year-old passionate writer with an experience of more than 10 years in journalism. She is also the founder of Goregaon Highway Pulse, a top online connect blog to connect the people and community of Goregaon East and the neighbouring suburbs of Mumbai.
The Lifestyle Portal is happy to share her journey through the Goregaon Highway Pulse with you. Read on to know more:
How did it all begin?
“Having done the rounds of mainline publications, I wanted to always start something of my own. This was to reflect my own style of writing, vision and identity. I then started looking at various options that would allow this and flexibility to look after my young child. I attended a social media workshop and the idea of GHP came to me as a Eureka,” smiles Anushree.
She further adds, “It occurred to me how little is being featured by mainstream media of what’s happening in localities that are as dynamic and interesting as this. It’s always the usual pockets – South Mumbai, Lower Parel and Bandra. People who live far away from these areas also need to know of recreational options available in the vicinity. As I myself live in Goregaon, I would hardly know of any events or interesting activities taking place here. Once I started knowing and discovering more, I immediately formed a connection with my neighbourhood. Obviously, this created so much contentment and satisfaction.
Essentially, GHP aims at a more social and an emotional level for its readers where it helps connect them to where they live, assuring them that the neighbourhood offers all kinds of interesting things for all ages, and in turn making them love where they stay. I believe this is very important in our new-age urban setup. It defeats the fear of the unknown that creates disdain for the unknown.”
Well, initial investments are most of the times seen as a challenge or risk. But for a blogger like Anushree, investments apart from money are more important to help one grow. When asked about what were the initial investments she made, Anushree proudly says, “A laptop, hours and hours of research and networking online as well as on ground along with imagination, ideas and an optimistic heart. Other than that, the basic cost of setting up a WordPress blog.”
Anushree explains, “It had to reflect the exact neighbourhood – Goregaon East in Mumbai suburbs. Using the word “Highway” implies the neighbourhoods that lie around the arterial Highway; while “Pulse” implies the idea of GHP catching the vibe and giving useful and relevant information to its readers.
I didn’t want any funky, odd-sounding names that could alienate the generations who have been living here, even before the highway happened. People now recognise GHP as an authority and a resource for Goregaon.
There are challenges of time because GHP is primarily a one-person team according to Anushree. As she explains, “I work as a one-person team, save for one SEO consultant and one freelance writer. I do all the research, writing, art and creative work myself – for the blog as well as social media.
It would surprise you to know that despite the plethora of information GHP features, there’s still much more to cover.”
The major audience at GHP is men and women – single, married and parents – of the age group of 30 and above. The balance of genders is a great achievement for GHP.
“We target those living and working here, which includes mothers and housewives looking for resources for themselves and the family, single professionals who need to connect with people here as well as professionals looking for a network to grow their businesses and brands.”
She further adds, “GHP has proudly helped innumerable budding entrepreneurs across the board engage and network to discover and establish profitable collaborations within Goregaon and beyond.”
What makes Goregaon Highway Pulse unique?
Every startup has its own USP. For Goregaon Highway Pulse, what makes it stand out from other blogs is that it is a hyperlocal blog. As Anushree feels, “Most of the blogs concentrate on food, lifestyle or fashion, whereas GHP roots itself geographically, first. Perhaps GHP is the only such blog in Mumbai that’s been able to keep up original, quality content that’s of real use to the reader and to the people or brands we feature. We are close to 200 posts already, across 14 categories.Having cemented its USP, GHP will also now feature stories from other areas, which would appeal to readers here.”
Services, Workshops and Events
GHP features a weekly listing of weekend events – GHP Mumbai Weekend, which is Goregaon’s only weekend listing. Apart from that, it features entrepreneurs doing formidable work in this area along with a special category called ‘Highway Heroes’ that features inspiring individuals who are doing socially relevant work.
Other than these, GHP also has popular categories like food and drink, shopping, kids and education to keep readers up to speed.
“Some of the most successful ground events we have organised have been the ones of direct social impact. These have been ‘collection and donation’ drives for the welfare of the tribal villages at Aarey Colony and at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Campaigns like Aur Chalao (extend the use of your child’s old toys and books by sharing them with the village kids), flood relief drives for SGNP, etc., have met with great response from the GHP community, time and again. We regularly work to support NGOs like WWH Charitable Foundation and SEVA Charitable Trust, who directly work with the Aarey and SGNP tribals.
GHP also helps promote the sale of the indigenous products made by these village women by hosting sales and building a customer base in this area.” A great addition to this, is that GHP also conducts organic farmers’ markets and has done blogging workshops for entrepreneurs too.
GHP features a lot of entrepreneurs and their entrepreneurial journeys. To name a few, GHP has featured some interesting people such as:
India’s first online dairy – Awesome Dairy by Smruti and Amol Ghodke
Volody – India’s only software for total business automation by Dinesh Sharma
The Socialize Store – A hugely successful digital marketing training company by Ami Savla
Sweta Shah Designs – One of India’s leading spa designers and
Santosh Hulawale – Creator of India’s first robot – INDRO
Apart from these, GHP has featured several home entrepreneurs dealing in local Indian crafts and other categories.
“We plan to engage in more collaboration with other bloggers, sites and brands. We plan to integrate with many more local and bigger businesses for unique marketing activities and to have more regular, mainstay events that highlight GHP’s ethos.”
To start featuring stories from areas beyond Goregaon that could be of interest to readers here is also something GHP is looking forward to. “I also hope to have a stronger team of good writers, editors, researchers and business developers in the coming two years,” says Anushree.
Journey so far
“The response for GHP, says Anushree, has been great, encouraging and always positive.” She continues, “GHP has a loyal follower base on Facebook, a strong community as a Facebook group and a lot of eager readers. Brands and entrepreneurs too love the work we do since it creates actual sales and profits for them.”
GHP provides them a platform to connect to a potential client base. Dance studios have found niche dance instructors via the GHP community. Small entrepreneurs, F&B brands, etc., have found customers via features and promotions on the GHP site. Recently, a novelist found a designer for her upcoming book through GHP. GHP has also been hosting job openings on the site – which will become a regular feature now. Who wouldn’t want to work close to home?
Anushree believes, “Doing what you love and believing in it wholeheartedly is an ideal success mantra which immediately brings in success. This then bears the diligence, persistence and patience required to build your business from scratch. Keeping your eyes and ears open, your imagination and creativity ticking to come up with unique stories and engagement ideas are what will make you stand apart from the rest. Your own writing style and journalistic principles too are vital on this journey.”
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