Two months ago my daughter and her friend started a website. Just for fun. They weren’t journalism students or big writers, but they knew what they loved. And because they love music and discovering new bands, and had written some articles for another website they were unhappy with. Two months later, http://www.honestreviewscorner.com continues to grow dramatically, with 80,000 viewers worldwide. Why? I interviewed Hillary and her partner, Rachel Ganellan.
Why start a website?
“We had a passion for TV and enjoyed reading other peoples’ websites. We also loved music, had written for another website and thought we could do it better.”
How did you get the name for the website?
“We wanted to have our names in it and were originally thinking about Hillary’s corner and Rachel’s corner, then decided to use our initials. The words sound good together too.”
What’s been your biggest surprise?
“All the interviews we’ve been able to get. We started with thinking we’d be talking to Moms of the bands and haven’t had to use that at all, although we did talk to Moms for a special Mother’s Day Edition. We never thought we would get 10,000 views, let alone 80,000 and nearing 100,000 sometime this summer.”
Why so many views? I know PR people who haven’t gotten that many their whole lives.
“In part, twitter. Bands we interview tweet about us, and vice versa. We are writing about something we care about. And people want to read from people who care about what they are writing.”
What are your goals?
“We want to average 1000 views a day. We want to continuously put our good quality stuff. We want to help the people who help write articles for us interview and meet their favorite bands. (Rachel doesn’t care as much about views as Hillary. They seem to complement each other well. Rachel edits more, Hillary writes more.)”
What lessons have you learned thus far?
“You can be successful when you put your mind to it. A lot of people are friendly and want to open up – we didn’t expect that at all. We are interested in them as people as well as musicians and actors, and they appreciate that. Lastly, we don’t need someone else to make our dreams come true, we can be our own backbone and make that happen.”
As of this writing, Hillary and Rachel are off to their first major television festival and continue to look for new ideas and events to cover. They remain amazed at their reception, not just by the viewers but by the bands they interview and how welcoming they are to them. Many have said they are the best interviews ever. Now they think they can even make some money from the website, but that was never their original intention.
My thoughts: Always follow your passions and dreams because you never know when they can come true. If two 20-somethings can create a website that grows dramatically, what can the rest of us do if we put our minds to it? You can’t learn if you don’t try.