Meet one of the first Indians who turned their blog into a multi-million rupee business: Celeb Confidante Malini Agarwal
Malini Agarwal, the real-life woman who breathed life into MissMalini.com way back in 2007, is now possibly India’s first crorepati blogger.
The DU alumnus worked as a back-up dancer, handled the content strategy for Mid-Day, worked for MTV and Channel V, and even had a long and fruitful stint as an RJ in the early 2000s. When she was writing a gossip column in the Mid-Day called “Malini’s Mumbai”, she would be distraught about how the article would get edited – so her friend Karan Wadhera suggested she start blogging. She signed up on WordPress the very next day – and would rush home after work and blog into the wee hours of the morning.
When it was still far from being monetised, her husband came through, reassuring her that his job in finance will support them for a year, and that she go full-time with MissMalini.com. “It was the most satisfying moment in my career. I went home, opened my laptop, and felt, ‘This is it!’ But for a year it was just us and my sofa,” she quips.
She broke into the inner-circle of Bollywood by never asking anything too personal, never being mean or snarky, and knowing what to keep off the record. “80 per cent of the things I know – I never can or would write about. Keeping those secrets is what helped me,” she says.
Soon, offers from brands – international ones even – started pouring in, who would offer her money for doing a post about them and she realised she had become an influencer – which is all the rage today. So they agreed to accept seed money from Rajan Anandan, and later, raised their pre-Series A investment of $1.4 million from Orios Venture Partners and NE, and branched into fashion, food, travel and lifestyle – and most recently, social commentary.
Their combined reach through their website and social media is 40 million people a month, and they have 8 million subscribers across their pages. “If you were to imagine Oprah creating her media imprint in today’s day and age, I believe this is how she would have done it!” she says, signing off.