Hot and Crispy
TikTok food critic helps his community
Good morning. Johnny Harris released a video revealing his go-to breakfast: Doritos…eaten with chopsticks. He was offering a commentary on how breakfast speaks to larger societal and economic circumstances, but TBH, I’m just happy he normalized eating weird things for breakfast. G2G—time for my 9am sushi run.
Keith Lee Gains a Global Following Through Local Impact
Keith_Lee125 / TikTok
The ex-MMA fighter turned TikTok food critic has cast a spotlight—powered by 8 million followers—on the restaurants in his home city of Las Vegas, a destination not typically known for its culinary delights apart from the giant slushies at Fat Tuesday on The Strip.
Context: Lee has added nearly 6 million followers in the last year by sharing food reviews in an earnest, straight-forward, almost deadpan manner. His emphasis on value and price make him more of an everyman’s food critic than a Michelin Star connoisseur.
So far, his reviews have sold out Cinnabon cookies nationwide and saved a struggling local pizza joint. Lee has also been asked by MrBeast to review his Feastables chocolate bars and by Chipotle to create a special menu item.
MrBeast asking you to do anything is a feat, but those high-caliber, big-brand opportunities aren’t what make Lee a standout on FoodTok—it’s his relatability and modesty. “$12 is $15 to me,” he said in a recent video comparing various grilled cheese burger options—many in his audience feel the same, and that’s how Lee builds trust. He’s eating like a normal person at normal places like Shake Shack, Chipotle, a local pizzeria—not telling his audience that the $89 veal parmesan at Carbone just isn’t what it used to be.
And Lee knows it. He regularly builds upon his reputation as the voice of the everyday foodie by engaging with comments and stitching fan replies.
Lee’s TikToks are a manifestation of the saying “think globally, act locally.” His national brand moments provide an opportunity to boost his audience quantity, while his care for small businesses in his hometown and the value of a dollar earn him a reputation of quality.
TikTok Partners With IMDb
Gyöngyi Balogh / Dribble
The app where you can secretly cry watching 30-second clips from Marley & Me 🤝 the website where you can read the entire professional history of the dog that played Marley.
TikTok has partnered with IMDb on a new feature that allows the platform’s creators to tag movies and shows in their content. Each title will have its own in-app page that showcases any videos on the platform that link to the film or show—meaning a potential boost in discoverability for creators talking about the work in question.
For example, Guywithamoviecamera’s interview with director James Cameron could appear on the TikTok page for Avatar: The Way of Water.
Zoom out: Following the rollout of features like identifying keywords in comments, this tie-in with IMDb is another investment from TikTok in its effort to become the go-to platform for search—the next Google, from recipes to obscure films.
To become the dominant search platform, TikTok will need to invest heavily in more features like this that categorize content and make relevant videos findable.
For creators, TikTok’s search ambitions mean more opportunities for discoverability. We’re not just relying on the whims of the FYP or using a trending sound to get our content in front of viewers—with better on-platform search, TikTok is enabling creators with precise tools that will redefine distribution best practices.
Sponsored by Spreadshop
How A Family Farm's YouTube Channel Built a Powerhouse Merch Brand
Spreadshop’s top 2022 seller on YouTube was Cog Hill Farm, a channel following a family of 3 who moved from the city to a 40-acre farm in Alabama. They’re building it from the ground up and documenting their process on YouTube.
They’ve got 191k subs but outperformed channels with millions of subscribers on merch sales. How did they do it?
They’ve got an authentic story and interesting niche.
They're not about perfect, they keep it real.
They connect with their fans through regular live streams on their channel.
They release regular designs often and are not afraid to tell people to support their channel with merch!
The takeaway: The criteria to build a successful merch brand goes far beyond audience size. Follow Cog Hill Farm’s example and start your merch line on Spreadshop today.
OnlyFans Creators Star in SFW Cooking Show
This Is Fire / OFTV
The platform known for risqué content is beefing up its all-ages programming with the season two launch of OFTV’s This Is Fire, a cooking competition starring OnlyFans creators.
Context: OnlyFans launched OFTV last year to reach wider audiences with shows about music, comedy, cooking, and fitness. The project is its first deviation from the subscription-based adult content that made it a household name.
For OnlyFans, OFTV is a way to sidestep the regulatory headaches that come with housing adult content. For OnlyFans creators, this could be a path toward increased visibility among a wider audience of both fans and brand partners.
OnlyFans has tried to expand beyond its explicit reputation with lukewarm results. Other platforms do all-ages media better, and it’s difficult for creators to communicate to fans that they’re making SFW content on OnlyFans.
But it’s worth remembering—many of social media’s advancements have stemmed from the adult industry (hi, live streaming and video calls), so perhaps OnlyFans is pushing away something it should embrace.
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