'It's not about how you look': Dubai content creator on how to get your storytelling right

Kuwaiti content creator Eisa Alhabib has acquired a robust following on social media with his simple-but-powerfully told bite-sized videos


Anamika Chatterjee

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Published: Thu 23 May 2024, 7:47 PM

What does the life of a content creator look like? Especially when millions have their gaze fixed on you? The world becomes your canvas and you begin to find stories even in the mundane. Picture this: A year ago, well-known Kuwaiti content creator Eisa Alhabib published a simple video on why hotels put glasses in the bathroom. Told humorously while being incredibly informative, the video educates viewers about what it means when the glasses are kept upside down and has already garnered 5.6 million views on Instagram alone.

That is the power of good storytelling on video. Something Eisa, 29, has been espousing throughout his journey as one of the leading content creators in the UAE. Today, content creation is the new frontier of creativity. But when Eisa was growing up in Sharjah, a model career for a man born and raised in the Middle East was either in medicine or engineering.

Eisa complied in that he applied for a scholarship to study medicine in Canada, but by the time he completed his pre-medical degree, an imagery from his childhood began to give shape to his dreams. “When I was a kid, my dad would film us all around the house. It was his way of preserving memories of our childhood. When I thought about doing something in filmmaking or content creation, it did not seem like a legitimate career path. But by then, things had already begun to change in the UAE. The environment had become dynamic to experiment with different career paths. That’s when I decided to take up content creation,” he says.

Today, Eisa has 3.3 million followers across all his social media platforms. He began by working for a content agency before deciding to take matters into his own hand and plunge into content creation fulltime. “I amassed this following in the past year by focusing solely on content creation. People already recognised my face from other social media platforms. So I thought I would make the most of it,” he says. “Today, my YouTube channel has more than a million subscribers. On Instagram, I have more than 800,000 followers.”

All this, he emphasises, did not happen overnight. While content creation was his passion, it was a dream that was fuelled by many emceeing gigs. From being part of COP28 to Expo2020 Dubai, Eisa has been on stage for some of the most important events the region has hosted. To have that kind of gaze fixed on you on a world stage, you have to be something more than ‘good’; not only do you have to be articulate, but you have to tell the story to your audience in a way that makes them feel connected to you. Ditto is true for content creation. It’s a space filled with young enthusiasts who want their views to be heard and their acts to be watched. What stands out then is not just the message but how you choose to convey it.

Even when Eisa was making content in Arabic, he says he was choosing themes that everybody could relate to. “There are three simple rules of storytelling — make it simple, relatable and be organised. People who don’t necessarily look at creators in the UAE get drawn to my content because they relate to it. Also, I make sure to conceptualise my videos as though they are meant for someone who is viewing them for the first time,” he says. No wonder then a fan in Indonesia translated all his Arabic videos for his classmates and thanked him for making them because they offered great insights into Arab culture.

Despite the accolades, he admits he has a long way to go as a presenter. “I genuinely think some of the most captivating presenters are articulate and enunciate well. If a presenter is not able to communicate his or her words clearly, then he stands to lose his or her audience. It does not matter how good-looking they are. That’s why a lot of presenters, TEDx speakers do speech training. Then there are other things that come into play, like showcasing your charisma. For example, if you are in a gaming competition, you need to show a more fun side.”

It helps that Eisa’s videos are as educational as they are entertaining. “I categorise my content as edutainment. My videos are explainers but I deliberately add entertainment aspect to them because I firmly believe that if you set out to purely educate, people will not want to receive that message. Everyone wants bite-sized content and even if they want to learn something new, they want to feel good about it. That’s why I bring my fun personality in my videos.”

Does that mean anyone can be a content creator? Eisa says that while the Internet may have democratised who gets to be heard and watched, what people often get wrong is that they tend to take it too seriously. “Storytelling is at the heart of content creation. Sometimes, people think if they have the best setup in their house their video will go viral. If you are telling a good story on video, people will watch it even if your camera is shaking,” he says.

Today, the ‘good story’ is being told in under a minute, which means short form content is setting the order of the day. “Statistically speaking, people consume short form videos more than pictures. It’s easier to watch it. You are able to digest that content easier. Why do you think people watch cat videos? That’s because we love cats and relate to that love for pets. Social media is all about having shared love.”

Which means as a content creator one has to constantly think of putting out content to keep one’s social channels active. Eisa admits he struggles to switch off. The last time he took a social media break (which was last month), it turned out to be detrimental to his social media presence. “You are chasing the algorithm and making sure you are consistent. If you love what you are doing, it does not feel tough,” he says. “Sure, protect your mental health, but, above, all enjoy what you do.”



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