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Yasssletter: A Love Letter to Food and Community

How a Global Gastronomy Newsletter is Building Brand Identity

Yasssletter: A Love Letter to Food and Community

This creator spotlight has been reposted from creatorspotlight.com

YASSSletter is a gastronomic newsletter that offers readers tasty recipes, great photos, and information about holiday food traditions around the world.

Its creators are Ben Siman Tov, AKA BenGingi, and his wife Zikki, two young culinary professionals who also run a catering business together. While BenGingi is the face of the brand on social media and videos, he makes clear that they are a team. "Zikki is my partner in life and also in business."

Yasssletter: A Love Letter to Food and Community

We recently sat down with BenGingi and Zikki to discuss their approach to YASSSletter. The couple was able to seamlessly talk about content, business, and creation while they took turns cuddling their three-month-old baby and giving some attention to their dog as well.

A Direct Relationship

Yasssletter: A Love Letter to Food and Community

Like many successful creators, BenGingi said he started by sharing his passion on social media. "I started sharing recipes and entertaining videos about baking and cooking. I started being serious and very committed about two years ago. It took off right from the beginning, and I'm very grateful for it. I got my schtick pretty early, and since then, I've been developing my brand online. Until a couple of months ago, I'd been focusing mostly on Instagram and TikTok. I had a pretty average website — it was functional, people could make my recipes and see my content — but still, I made it myself, so it looked like a high school project."

In short - a few changes were on the menu for the culinary duo. “In the next year, I'm working on developing my YouTube channel and my Facebook audience. But I realize that, on social media, I'm not owning any of my audience. I have big dreams of developing projects, like launching a cookbook I'm writing right now, and many other projects I'm working on. I'm looking for direct contact and direct relationships with my community. I realized that's either a newsletter or a website, so I found a way to integrate the two of them together. And the newsletter is growing, thanks to that [integration]."

An Inclusive-Exclusive Club

Yasssletter: A Love Letter to Food and Community

Zikki is eager to share her excitement about how the newsletter has been received.

"Honestly, what I've noticed in our community is the excitement and the hype around it. People are excited to be part of this exclusive club because when you're on Instagram and you have 400,000 followers and a million followers on TikTok, it's almost unreachable for people."

"But now, whoever we run into, whether it's people on the street in our neighborhood or it's people in Israel, they say, 'Oh, I got your YASSSletter. I signed up for it.’ Even people you would never expect to be the demographic to follow us. Like a 25-year-old man who doesn't cook [might say], ‘I saw that recipe for the tuna melt. I'm super stoked, man. I can't wait to make it. It's my favorite sandwich from my childhood.' We're just blown away [by the response]. I feel like the reactions you used to get for Instagram are the reactions you’re now getting for a newsletter."

BenGingi agrees. "Yes, people are very excited about the newsletter in general. I feel like we created a kind of…." He pauses, saying the word he wants doesn't exist in English, then settles for "an inclusive-exclusive club. Everyone is welcome to join the club, to join our newsletter, but at the same time, it's an exclusive club."

Why exclusive? "Because my recipes are available only for newsletter subscribers."

The new BenGingi website uses a plugin that only gives recipe access to people who are subscribed to the newsletter. "Basically, we block the whole website from people who are not subscribed to the newsletter. That's a really good hack, and it gave me the structure I needed for my business."

Structure and Commitment

Yasssletter: A Love Letter to Food and Community

BenGingi explains the structure, saying, "Before, as a content creator, I would wake up in the morning and decide what I want to bake today — something that will be delicious and grab attention. But now, I'm looking at the calendar, because I know the newsletter is coming every Thursday. I'm planning ahead a couple of months, building a strategy of recipes, what I'm going to shoot, when I'm going to shoot, and how and when it needs to be launched. It's giving a lot of stability for our business."

Zikki agrees. "Yeah, I think there's a really good consistency. It's gotten us very organized."

Bengigi goes on to say that he thinks commitment is one of the keys to success for a creator, and the newsletter format demands commitment. "[Whether] you have one subscriber or ten million subscribers, you are committed to it. I have to show up every Thursday with the newsletter, even though for the last couple of weeks, it's not really the best time for me to do it. People are waiting to get it every week for the recipes they will make with their family that weekend. So we are very committed."

Give and Keep Giving

Another of BenGingi’s recommendations for success is to keep giving. "Give, give, give, give, give. Forget about the take. I was creating content for about a year [on social media], waking up every morning to do videos, and earning zero dollars from it. But I believe that one day it'll bear fruit. So, keep working on the newsletter. One day, it'll lead to something. Most people are quitting, so you just need to continue what you're doing, and you will already be ten times better than others."

And for BenGingi, that giving includes advice as much as it does food. "I truly like recommending my friends to build newsletters — even if they have nothing to talk about and no business to promote. Work on it. One day, you will need it."

Just Do It

Zikki has another piece of advice for creators. "I would say, just start. I think a lot of people are held back because they think, 'Well, it's not perfect. I need to have it perfectly executed. It needs to be excellent.' And the reality is that our newsletter is so drastically different [now] from the first one we did. The logo has changed four times. The branding of the newsletter has changed, and the font has changed."

But through working on the newsletter as it evolved, she says a structure has developed. "We have a formula now….

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