Aug. 23, 2022

How to Build Thought Leadership with Videos

How to Build Thought Leadership with Videos

More than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube every day.
85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.
45% of people watch more than an hour of videos on Facebook or YouTube per week.
69% of people prefer video over text when learning about a product or service.

Above listed are some of the valid statistics ( source:Wyzowl) confirming the fact that video era is now and it is here to stay.  In this episode, host Surbhi Dedhia chats with Reim El Houni on how business owners and brands can leverage on video to build their thought leadership. In the conversation they cover - 

Video consumption increased during the pandemic and it continues to grow. How do content based company cope with outputing so much content.
What is the ideal length of the video for it to work?
Videos are working as they provide distraction - which type of videos should we go for educational or entertaining?
What is the ideal frequency of video posting and how much of video content is too much?
Why before embarking on video journey, there needs to be a mindset shift to overcome self limiting beliefs.
Reim also shares her experience with producing a daily show at the world's greatest show - Expo 2020

This episode is packed with value, quirky ideas and laughs. Do tune in!

Get in touch with Reim -

[00:00:00] Surbhi Dedhia: hello, Reim welcome to the Making of a Thought Leader podcast. It is absolutely my pleasure to have you on board today. 

[00:00:07] Reim El Houni: Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to be here. 

[00:00:12] Surbhi Dedhia: Reim, in our conversations you bring upon this thing about video era is now that's your constant statement and message. So, tell me a little bit more about the statement, "Video era is now." 

[00:00:26] Reim El Houni: I think it's about time to be honest. Um, I'm a little biased, because obviously I've been in this industry for over 20 years.

[00:00:32] Reim El Houni: So, I remember a time when I used to meet people and talk about video and it was quite possibly on the bottom of their to-do list. It was especially, you know, when they're looking at marketing agendas and where they're gonna spend their money video was never at. You know, it was always sort of, your website was number one.

[00:00:49] Reim El Houni: Possibly they'd look at SEO, they look at other marketing tools and video just always felt like a nice to have. And I think with COVID, especially with COVID, we saw a huge increase in both content consumption and content creation. Um, the percentage actually increased to 60% during COVID right.

[00:01:07] Reim El Houni: People were consuming 60% more content. What's super interesting is that when people started to go back to work, that percentage increased even more. So, it went up to 80%. So, it goes to show that there is a hunger and an appetite to consume more and more content, but along with consuming it, you have to create it.

[00:01:26] Reim El Houni: So, what's ended up happening is there's this pressure to now output a lot more than you used to. So now the conversations I'm having with, anyone in the marketing sphere or business owners to be really different. Video has now gone from being the bottom of the list to coming up to the top of the list, where it's no longer a nice to have.

[00:01:44] Reim El Houni: It's now a must have. We are in an era where everyone enjoys consuming content. They wanna consume more of it. Their attention spans are really low, so you have to make it super interesting. And honestly, if you're not capitalizing on that trend right now, you may miss the boat because as much as I believe that video is the era now.

[00:02:04] Reim El Houni: There's a lot of talk about so many other interesting concepts in the digital space. So, you may have to move even further, and start investigating and exploring those in the coming years. So, take advantage of video now, whilst it's hot, 

[00:02:17] Surbhi Dedhia: You were saying that attention spans are so low, so what you are indicating here is the short snappy quick to the point video. 

[00:02:27] Reim El Houni: I actually believe there's a space for all types of content, but I do agree that if you're capturing someone's interest and attention for the very first time, the content has to be short. Um, you know, we hear things like people you need to grab people's attention.

[00:02:40] Reim El Houni: The first three seconds, the first five seconds or the first eight seconds. That's a really short amount of time to grab someone's interest. And then beyond that, the retention is really low. People aren't really watching videos that are longer than 45 seconds to a minute. So, if you are sitting there reeling off this really long video content and hoping you're gonna catch new customers, it's, it's pretty challenging because people just don't have that time. The first thing I do whenever anyone sends me a video is look at the duration and I'm confident you know, most of the people listening do the same thing. You look at the duration and you think, do I have time to listen to this right now? And it's either a yes. Okay. If it's under a minute, I'll give it a go. If it's over a minute, now I can't be bothered and you skip it.

[00:03:24] Reim El Houni: So, keep in mind that when you're trying to appeal to a new audience, the shorter, the better, get their interest. Having said if, you know, you have an engaged audience, they already sold on you. They already wanna hear what you have to say. So, that's where the space comes for longer video content.

[00:03:42] Reim El Houni: Different durations work for different audiences, but absolutely for people who are just stumbling on you for the first time, the shorter, the better. 

[00:03:50] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. And I feel being in the industry for many years now, my career started into pushing for video as a corporate video. Like, what do you do? Who you are? What do you sell? Who's your customer, that kind of a storyline. And now I think it's completely turned on its head meaning having a shorter video where it's like a hook literally to get engaged with you.

[00:04:14] Surbhi Dedhia: In the past, this was not the case. It absolutely was not the case. And in fact, it was just YouTube where you just go probably upload it as a public domain or some of the other channels, like your website, or, you know, even in your corporate, uh, spiel presentations, where you actually present your corporate videos. And that was a completely different ballgame. And what we are talking about now is the next two steps after that short hook that you presented in a video format. 

[00:04:43] Surbhi Dedhia: Also, I feel like this tendency that all of us are getting to where we are like reels, right? Like swiping off reels after reels. And that is like a huge entertainment component to it. What do you think about. Like intersection between content like knowledge, content and entertainment what's happening there. 

[00:05:03] Reim El Houni: So, I generally believe that the best kinds of content either educate you or entertain you. You need to try and find which one you're strong at.

[00:05:12] Reim El Houni: Like I know that I'm not particularly good at entertaining people. So, I go heavy on the education and information. You wanna give people a reason to keep coming back for more. So, for me, if I'm educating people, I'm giving them tips, knowledge, something they're gonna learn from they're gonna wanna come back because they can apply the tips that I'm giving them.

[00:05:31] Reim El Houni: Entertainment is the opposite side of the spectrum. If I come to you, I enjoy it. I laugh. I find it funny. I'm gonna wanna come back because at the moment people wanna be distracted. They want something entertaining and engaging. So, I think, look at your, where you are, your industry, what the message is. If you're capable of entertaining someone, then go for that route because some of the most popular content out there is comedy.

[00:05:54] Reim El Houni: However, I'm a bit weary of it because I do think it's subjective. I do think, it's not, everyone's gonna like what you put out there. So, the safer bet, especially because I work with a lot of business owners and thought leaders, and I know we're talking about, Being a thought leader. The safer bet is usually the, education information, route.

[00:06:12] Reim El Houni: Having said that if you're able to do both then, you've got that lucky balance where hopefully you can appeal to both audiences. But just to comment on your, your earlier point, still important to have that video that tells people who you are, what you do, what your services are, because nowadays people are stumbling on you online, and that's where they're being informed and educated about your company and what you do. But what I feel, is really important is leveraging all the social media platforms and having that consistent content and getting more and more visible by putting yourself out there.

[00:06:44] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah, absolutely. And that brings me to this point is how much is too much or how much is enough. So, when you say that short videos, and other kind of content, how much, according to you, what is the ideal, kind of a frequency or the amount that people should be putting out there?

[00:07:03] Reim El Houni: So, I think that's a great question and I'm a big believer in consistency. So, I'm gonna answer in a way that probably, isn't popular, but I think whatever you can do consistently. So, if you are capable of putting out a video, every day, do it, you're gonna get the results. If you are capable of putting it out two or three times a week, do that. If you're only capable of doing it at, I would say a minimum of once a week, then do that. The key to all of this is the consistency and what your capabilities are to churn that content out.

[00:07:37] Reim El Houni: I personally know that I can put one out a week. That's a guarantee, right? So, I've stuck with the consistent schedule of putting one new video out per week. If I happen to be able to put out other videos, they kind of bonuses, you know? So, my audience knows that they can expect one fresh new piece of content from me, which is usually education information.

[00:07:57] Reim El Houni: I'm giving people, tips, something of that sort. Yeah. Everything else beyond that is a bonus. I'm a big fan of Gary Vee, he has like tons of content out every day, but he has a whole team that supports him in doing that. Yeah. You know, so you need to kind of think, do you have the resources to help you turn that out? And if not, the simple answer is do what you can do consistently because that's what gets you the results. 

[00:08:20] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. I, I agree to your point completely because there's also this whole concept that people are now aware of about algorithm. So, at the time only 30% of your audience is actually seeing it online because the way it appears on their stream.

[00:08:35] Surbhi Dedhia: So even if you're doing consistently for a week, there is always this opportunity for, bringing the past video up again, to bonus and supplement your other, content pieces that you want to put it out. But I think what you said is really important and often forgotten, you know, because in, in, we, we all get very ambitious. Like people get on doing reels today or, any kind of other, content. They, they just get onto it and say, keep doing it for a while. And there is no continuity. So, there's this disconnects that comes with that distraction. 

[00:09:07] Reim El Houni: I just wanna add to that. I do regular coaching programs and consult with different, different CEOs. And when they start, you know, planning their video content, most of them are over ambitious. Yeah. Like most of them they have all these amazing ideas, which they are, they are amazing ideas.

[00:09:22] Reim El Houni: But one of the key components that we go through is what is the feasibility of you being able to execute this on a consistent basis? And often like the one that like gets people excited is the idea of interviewing others. So, they often say, I'm gonna start an interview series and I'm gonna interview CEOs.

[00:09:41] Reim El Houni: Amazing. Then you go, how many CEOs do you know? Well, I know quite a few. Great. Have you tried to get into their diaries recently? Do you know how difficult it is to, to be able to pull this off on a consistent basis? So, then I kind of set them this exercise, like, just, just try and forget the video. Just try and schedule the time on a consistent basis and see what happens. And when those small little exercises start to kind of fall flat, they realize that as great as an idea that is that it's not gonna be consistent, which is why the most consistent type of video is what I call a piece to camera, which is you speaking to camera, giving information and tips because you're not reliant on anyone else or any other factors.

[00:10:20] Reim El Houni: And, you know, you can churn that out, which is why my, my videos are super simple. My weekly videos are really, really simple because I wanna be able to ensure that I can put one out every week, you know, so you have to go for the type of video that doesn't, offer any hurdles, and you know, you can actually accomplish.

[00:10:39] Reim El Houni: So yes, ambition is always a big thing when you start this journey. But looking at the feasibility of the idea is also important. 

[00:10:46] Surbhi Dedhia: You really nailed it. I really loved the tactics that you said at least just get scheduling. And then we'll talk about the video later. This is fantastic. 

[00:10:54] Surbhi Dedhia: All right talking about the CEOs. We are talking about this thought leader who is obviously very busy and video, even if they know with all the statistics, though, all the competition that is doing video, it doesn't come naturally to everyone.

[00:11:08] Surbhi Dedhia: You and me on this call, we are seeing each other and we are talking, it is natural. We are comfortable, we, but when it is just facing the camera and talking to oblivion, it's like, it doesn't, it's not something that we do naturally. So, what would you say to this CEO or the thought leader who's saying I'm, I, I can't do the camera piece. 

[00:11:28] Reim El Houni: I'm super passionate about this message because I get told. All the time a day, doesn't go by where I haven't spoken to someone. Who's like, oh, it's not for me. You know, I feel just really uncomfortable or I'm, I'm really shy, you know, I just feel a bit self-conscious and I get it.

[00:11:42] Reim El Houni: I actually truly get it because I'm someone who always felt that way. And I've been in this industry a really long time, but I've always been behind the camera. So, to push myself, to get in front of it really took a lot, you know, because I, um, you. Same as everyone else. I understand the statistics, I understand the logic.

[00:11:59] Reim El Houni: I understand what it's gonna do for my business, but the minute I got in front of it, I felt really nervous. And you know, also, you know, other things come to play, it becomes a confidence issue and a self-consciousness issue. Like I know I'm getting quite gray and I know that, I'm not always looking the way I wanna look.

[00:12:13] Reim El Houni: I learned through practice that people don't care. Like people are not watching my videos because they're trying to figure out how many new gray strands, I have this week. You know, they're watching my videos because I'm sharing useful information. And I think once people start to understand, it's not about the image. It's about the knowledge. So, focus on embrace your knowledge, focus on what you have to share. And something very interesting starts to happen. When you talk about something you're knowledgeable in, the minute you start talking about it, that kind of takes over. So, the reason even us chatting is quite comfortable is because I'm very confident in video so whatever question you throw at me, I'm quite comfortable. And I know I can answer those questions. However, if I, you suddenly asked me about something, I don't know very much about that's when the nerves come in and that's where you're like, oh, how am I gonna sound?

[00:13:03] Reim El Houni: What do I look like? You know? So, what I would encourage people to do is just talk about information, you know. Talk about information that you talk, you say day in, day out, you know, what, what do you discuss with your teams? What do you discuss with your clients share, you know, information that comes naturally to you, right?

[00:13:21] Reim El Houni: Um, because in that situation, it removes one hurdle where you're no longer worried about what you're gonna say. And it's the practice it's honestly just keep doing it and you're not gonna be happy with those first few videos. That's normal. No one is happy with them. But you keep doing it and understand that as long as you're educating people and informing them, they're gonna keep coming back for more because that's actually all they care.

[00:13:45] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. Yeah, you are right. And I think it is something very similar to the podcast as well. Like you are talking into the mic into oblivion you don't know who is there. If there's somebody in front of you, you can judge from their body language. If they are understanding that they're getting interested in it or not all of that, but when it comes to, um, video or a podcast, it, has that, initial hesitation, like, you know, the content, you know what you're going to say? And, then at the same time you are like, whether am I saying the right word?

[00:14:15] Surbhi Dedhia: Whether this sounds better, how do I sound like for me, that happened with me in the podcast as well. Like I'm like, I sound so soft. otherwise, I'm a loud person. So, all those things, come to play. 

[00:14:26] Reim El Houni: But you know, in a lot of ways it's a bit more liberating because you know, when you're talking to a camera.

[00:14:32] Reim El Houni: I don't know, who's on the other side. I don't need to suddenly catch someone's eye or, you know, feel, feel extra self-conscious for, in my mind, it doesn't matter. You don't know who, who the audience is, so that can actually help as opposed to hinder in a lot of ways. And to answer your other point, to be honest, like I never over scrutinize anything I put out. ever mm-hmm, you know, from my perspective, it's like, I know the information I wanna put out. I don't even, even structure it that fully because the more obstacles you give yourself, the harder it's gonna be for you to do. 

[00:15:03] Reim El Houni: So, I think about the message that I wanna share, and I wanna keep it under a minute. So, with that, I often I'm very clear about my first sentence. So as long as my first sentence grabs someone's attention, that one I might memorize. So, the first sentence is usually a statistic, a question, some kind of hook, which, you know, I use statistics because people go, oh my God, I didn't know that.

[00:15:23] Reim El Houni: And I use questions because people go, oh my God, that sounds like me. I need to listen. So, I use one of those two and then I have my key message and a call to action at the end. I don't memorize. Because again, I don't want that hurdle. I say it, if I'm happy that I've been able to do it in under a minute, I often don't watch it.

[00:15:41] Reim El Houni: It gets edited and I post it and you move on to the next one. So, in terms of overanalysing or scrutinizing, how you look or how you sound, as long as the message is clear. And I feel that yeah, people are gonna learn something from this. That's it.

[00:15:56] Reim El Houni: And you have to get into that practice of like it's, it's fine. You're not totally happy. Move on. There's another one tomorrow.

[00:16:01] Surbhi Dedhia: Okay. So, you know, on this note, I wanna ask you, you were saying that, you were always behind the camera and it took you some kind of an effort to come in the front.

[00:16:09] Surbhi Dedhia: Now, when you go to the front, did you come with a strategy? Which means a commitment, like I'll do these many videos, it would be all under a minute. How did you plan this, and did you do you do all by yourself?

[00:16:22] Reim El Houni: Um, to answer your question, I felt the need to start pushing myself in front of the camera, because, I've always been behind the camera. But I also run a business, you know, so running a business, I understand the importance of people connecting with me. You know, and at the end of the day, you know, people connect with people.

[00:16:39] Reim El Houni: So as long as I'm putting myself out there, there's a higher chance of people. I think it's as high as 77%, 77% of people are more likely to do business with you. If they're following the CEO on social media. And if you are active on with video content, that is a super high percentage. So, you know, understanding all these statistics is what pushed me to start doing it for myself, you know?

[00:17:01] Reim El Houni: Because I can't be in this industry, know and understand the numbers and still not be doing it. And that's, you know, that's actually what pushed me and the embarrassment, to be honest, the embarrassment that I run a group of video companies and I'm hesitating on putting myself on video, it was almost like one of those challenges I had to overcome.

[00:17:21] Reim El Houni: Yeah. And then actually, what really pushed me. You know, one of my brands Dubai On demand, we started offering these monthly packages and this membership where people, would film with us one day a month, we create these four videos and it keeps them consistent. And that was the extra push.

[00:17:36] Reim El Houni: Because if I'm standing out there telling other CEOs, they need to be doing this, and this is how they do it. And we're gonna film with you on day. Then I better be doing it myself because I can't afford for anyone to turn around and say, well, hang you're not doing it. Where, where are your videos? So, um, it definitely became a situation where, I have to be doing what I'm preaching, you know? So, uh, that was the extra push and yes, I run a group of video companies so I'm fortunate enough to have in-house resources and that's, how I get my content done. I batch, I batch it. So, I will plan what I, I wanna do in the coming month.

[00:18:12] Reim El Houni:  If possible, more and get in and just record them all. You know, I'll get a bunch of different shirts and tops and just change in between as you know, one of the strategies, and just get them done because often when you're a busy person, that's the only way you can get all of your content done effectively, without consuming too much time. But I can honestly say I didn't start that planned. I started just wanting to get over the hurdle. I started just wanting to start doing one, just start doing two, just start, you know, just get going. But it was launching our membership for our members that made me, you know, so now I effectively do everything that I preach to our members.

[00:18:49] Reim El Houni: I do for myself as well because I think that's super important. If you're teaching something that you should be doing. 

[00:18:55] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. In, in your case, definitely. And, that was your personal example. Can you share some an example where you have convinced a person to do videos and they have seen a lot of results?

[00:19:06] Reim El Houni: Absolutely. I mean, this happens regularly and it, it just, it makes my eyes go like pop wide open because you, it would surprise you the number of people who hesitate to get started. And you never would've thought that they had any hesitation to begin with. I think most people in Dubai and the UAE are familiar with Lucy chow. She is in the financial space. She runs a women's women angel investment network, very, uh, very credible, visible person. Um, and I remember having a chat with her a few years ago, where I basically said to her, look, you need to start creating video content. And she was so hesitant.

[00:19:44] Reim El Houni: And I, I was just shocked, cause I couldn't believe that someone who was that visible would hesitate on doing something like this. And we kind of discussed it a bit more and trying to dig and understand what was the hesitation. And hers was a bit different. Actually. She said, um, that she didn't think anyone would wanna watch her content.

[00:20:02] Reim El Houni: She said, you know, what do I have to add? People can just Google all the information they're looking for. And I just thought that was fascinating because you know, everyone has a voice and everyone has a perspective and she happens to be a Chinese female entrepreneur investor in the middle east. And, you know, I highlighted to her that I, I'm not aware of anyone who has that specific perspective, and I, I know so many business owners who'd wanna ask her questions and have access.

[00:20:28] Reim El Houni: And she kind of, she agreed to get started on, on that journey. Um, and I think she was pretty consistent with her video content. We were producing it for around two years and she, by the end of that, she was announced, one of LinkedIn's 15 voices in MENA and to me, that's amazing. It's amazing to see that growth that's happened.

[00:20:48] Reim El Houni: Yes, she's visible, but the video content definitely contributed because people are now visibly seeing her and connecting with her. And that's from someone who was pretty confident and pretty credible. So, it goes to show it doesn't really matter who you are you have the same thought process.

[00:21:03] Reim El Houni: You have the same hesitation and you just need to get over. 

[00:21:06] Surbhi Dedhia: And when you were saying this example, it almost felt like you are a counsellor. You, you know, you are doing this whole mindset, goal setting, kind of an exercise with your client to get them to see beyond their, walls of, am I going the right path? 

[00:21:23] Reim El Houni: Glad you said that because I often feel like a counsellor. Often, it's, it's one of those where, because creating videos a lot of the time is, a confidence exercise. It's a confidence exercise. It's a mindset shift. It's so many other things other than technical, so you kind of need to get over those hurdles first before you can start creating videos. Often my first few conversations, which is why I end up having so many coaching clients or consulting clients is because a lot of them either don't know what to say, don't know how to start, feel uncomfortable on camera. Don't believe they have something, you know, they have the credibility, you know, there's a lot.

[00:22:00] Reim El Houni: And I, I wouldn't, I would never call myself a counsellor. I'm not a qualified counsellor just to put this out. I was just saying no, but, but I've gone through. I've gone through these thoughts myself. I've been able to overcome them myself, and I've now been able to help, hundreds overcome it as well.

[00:22:17] Reim El Houni: So, I kind of understand the thought process that goes into it. And I've realized that it's it's few changes. It's few thoughts that can help push you over and, uh, and get you started with your video content. And it's never the technology. It's always you. 

[00:22:34] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. Talking of technology, video has come a long way. Right? Like your career has been exemplary from being on, BBC to doing your own show at expo. So how, how do you think technology has helped you, in your journey or in your timeline of doing videos. What role has technology played in how you had to kind of constantly upgrade, adapt to it?

[00:23:00] Surbhi Dedhia: Like what happened there?

[00:23:02] Reim El Houni: I mean, I'm in an industry which changes consistently. You know, if I happen to like not learn or not stay up to date for a week, I'm already out of date, you know? So, you kind of always have to be learning and always have to know what's new. How, how things are changing, how things are evolving. As technology has evolved, things have got easier. Things have got simpler. You don't need as much equipment as you used to. I think the levels that mobile phones have progressed where, cameras on mobile phones, are delivering pretty decent quality. Um, and I think that's great because it just means that it removes another barrier from people just starting.

[00:23:37] Reim El Houni: So, I often just tell people, in my world, I've worked on big TV shows with big setups and big cameras, but you all have a phone, which probably has a pretty decent camera. Just start with that, because that's enough to get you going. And yeah, it's just fascinating and who knows what's gonna happen next?

[00:23:54] Reim El Houni: You know, so it's, it's one of those where, you're spot on in saying it changes, but you have to stay up to date, in order to really make use of new innovation. 

[00:24:04] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. It almost felt like you were saying technology has taken out the technical out of it completely. The advancement in technology has got the technical out of it.

[00:24:13] Reim El Houni: It has, and I think that's great. And that's why, coming back to what I said earlier, people who don't start with video, technology is not the barrier. It is always, it always comes down to mindset and confidence and planning actually. Um, if you're able to tick those three boxes, then you can get started.

[00:24:32] Surbhi Dedhia: Yes, absolutely. This was fantastic. 

[00:24:34] Surbhi Dedhia: How are you focusing on building your own thought leadership?

[00:24:38] Surbhi Dedhia: Like one of the things, I think is it helps to know about what thought leadership is that you gotta be systematic and you gotta be consistent. And some of these points you've already done. What I think the audience would like to know is how do you consistently and systematically think about building your own thought leadership, in today's time?

[00:25:00] Reim El Houni: So, I think one of the key questions to ask yourself is what do you want to be known for? You know? So, once you're able to answer that question, that really dictates the kind of content you're gonna put out there. So, you know, often when I'm working with people, it's kind of digging, digging down, you know, on that specific question.

[00:25:18] Reim El Houni: So, to give you an example, we work with a chef. We've worked with him for about three years. Chefs ven and he runs Baker's kitchen, which is a really popular bakery in Dubai. But what was really interesting when we started this discussion, is that, what do you wanna be known for? When you think of baking, you think of so many different things, but he wanted to be known for bread.

[00:25:36] Reim El Houni: Like that is the specific thing he wanted to be known for. So, it was like, great. Okay. And I've learned so much about bread since then. Apparently like there are over 300 types of sourdough and all these other things. Oh, that's a news. Yeah. Very interesting. And, uh, so when we were kind of thinking about his content plan, I was like, okay, how do we really embrace your knowledge on bread?

[00:25:57] Reim El Houni: And for his video content, we came up with a brand, we call it the truth about bread. And the, the reason being is that, you know, when you are searching, you know, Googling, you type in baker, you'll get a whole bunch of people, but when you type in bread baker, there are only like a couple of people who are gonna pop up.

[00:26:13] Reim El Houni: Right. So, you wanna really answer that question for yourself and then plan your content accordingly. Right? So, for me, I wanna be known, as a video content expert, that's what I wanna be known as. Although having said that, I, I often give advice and tips on content creation in general, so I have to be careful that I give, some knowledge about content creation.

[00:26:32] Reim El Houni: So, consistency, the rule of consistency applies to any content you put out there. Right. But my videos are always about video content. So, I always wanna make sure that I'm giving people tips and advice that will position myself as a video expert, that they will keep coming back to, to learn or to grow or to get some new information.

[00:26:52] Reim El Houni: I also believe, when you're positioning yourself as a thought leader, know where your strengths are, know where your weaknesses are. I'm someone who I, I genuinely love LinkedIn I'm on it regularly. Um, I'm, I'm more of a business focused person than a personal person.

[00:27:08] Reim El Houni: What I mean by that is I'm unlikely to have conversations about your dogs and your pets and your kids. That's not my world, but I will have conversations about your business and your team and what you're doing to grow. That's just who I am and my interests. So, I'm more aligned with being consistent on LinkedIn than I am on Facebook. That's not my space. However, a different business owner who may, just be more, either personality may be different where they're more personable, or their businesses in that space will find that Facebook is the place for them to be consistent or Instagram. So, I'm very conscious about where I wanna be known as a thought leader.

[00:27:42] Reim El Houni: So, for me, it's, it's LinkedIn. So, I have a very consistent LinkedIn strategy. And with LinkedIn, I then look at, what kind of content do people wanna consume? So, there's definitely my pillar, which is my video content at least once a week. I definitely make sure that at least a couple of other posts during the week give knowledge information advice, but I also wanna showcase some of the work that I'm doing.

[00:28:04] Reim El Houni: Right. And I wanna showcase some of the people I'm working with or some of the achievements that I have. So at least a couple of the other posts during the week will, will showcase that. I think LinkedIn is becoming a space where we're starting to get to know people a little more, so I try and give it my personal spin on that activity or on that client.

[00:28:23] Reim El Houni: And I've realized that that's working really well because people seem to enjoy. Getting to know you a little bit more through your, through your work or through your activities. 

[00:28:32] Reim El Houni: But it's also, you never know who resonates with what type of content. And that's been very interesting. I've had several examples recently where these are old connections. These are people who've known me for years, but being consistent has kept me top of mind. Yeah. And you know, that's when new opportunities come up, so, um, it's, it's worth it. And it's so fascinating. Like I did a post at expo, on Libya's expo national day.

[00:28:58] Reim El Houni: Yeah, because a lot of people don’t know I'm from Libya. And it was just, it was one of those moments where I just thought, you know what? I didn't, I didn't overthink it. It was just like, I wanna share something about who I am and obviously posting it, it was very clear that I'm at expo. I'm, it's still business. It's still part of my work life. But you'd be surprised how many people I've seen or have spoken to. It's like, oh, I saw your post on Libya I never knew that about Libya. I didn't know you were li and it's quite a simple post. Yeah. But I seem to have connected with people on a different level just because they know I'm from Libya and, and they got a bit of an insight into my thoughts, you know?

[00:29:33] Reim El Houni: Right. So, you just never know what's gonna connect with you. And I never would've guessed that, that post would connect with people in that way. So that's what's kind of opened it up for me and made me think like, you know what, let's experiment a bit. let's put out content and, and, and see what happens.

[00:29:48] Reim El Houni: I'm a massive believer of thinking big and Tony Robbins and visualization. so, I just recently decided to post some content about vision boards, because I use vision boards, I believe in them, again, nothing to do with video, although I did post a video talking about it. um, and. You know, and again, that's another one that seems to have had like a huge response because right.

[00:30:10] Reim El Houni: It's connected with people in a different way. I'm still using my video analogy. I'm still talking about what I do in my business. Right. I'm just showing a different side of who I am and how that connects to my business. Um, and I think that's what people may need to start doing more and more of with their content to, to just appeal to new people and, and see where the connections.

[00:30:31] Surbhi Dedhia: True. True. And I think that gives you, gives that, um, trust. I think that authenticity and trust these two words are very often spoken these days or talked about but how, how does one get authentic, right? This question really bothers me. How do you really come across authentic for you yourself? You're authentic. But then for another person you may not be. But I think what you just said opens up this whole discussion area where you say, whatever you are doing, whatever you thinking, whatever you apply in your daily life.

[00:31:02] Surbhi Dedhia: You can share these things because that adds that layer in people's perception about you, people's trust on you and they get to know you more authentically rather than just one area that you constantly speak about. And that, again, brings to the point of consistency because you wanna be consistent in one area of video that you think that is what you want to be known for.

[00:31:26] Surbhi Dedhia: but hey, all these different posts that you've experimented with has given you like this check and balance that, oh, this is resonated well, but this is not, or this, I could do better in a different way, but yeah, that post on Libya completely. Uh, I I'm one of those many people who probably responded and said, wow, I didn't know that you are from Libya

[00:31:45] Surbhi Dedhia: I didn't know these things about, uh, Libya it opens up a perception in other people's minds. 
So fantastic. You spoke about expo. Oh my God. I can't believe that. I know you Reim and you were at expo doing what I think is just unfathomable. I can't believe that six months we were producing a show daily, daily. Wow. Tell us all about it. 

[00:32:12] Reim El Houni: Well, if I was going to tell you all about it would probably be, you need another very, very long time. Um, but, uh, but yes, it was an amazing experience. Um, it was actually something that's been two years in the making, although everyone kind of obviously focused on that six-month intensive period.

[00:32:27] Reim El Houni: It was amazing. To be able to work on such a, an exciting project, which, had a global audience. We were working with over 192 countries, which means in itself, you're exposed to so many different cultures and, and just different ways of doing things having so many stakeholders in it, on it.

[00:32:45] Reim El Houni: So, it was so important that everything went successfully, especially when you are, interviewing world leaders and presidents and dignitaries and celebrities, and you can't afford for anything to go wrong. And you're live. So, so honestly, you know, the pressure is on. Often in the world of video, you can edit, you can edit and correct and, make things look pretty. But when you're live, you're live, so that adds a whole new layer, to getting things right.

[00:33:11] Reim El Houni: It was not easy especially because I can't honestly say any of us really knew what we were getting into like, I personally had not been to an expo before. Everyone heard expo expo expo, but what is it, until you're actually there and see it. And, especially because our studios were based in the expo media centre, just overlooking Al Wasl plaza so new facilities as well. Whenever you have a new facility, you're going to be faced with, with a lot of challenges, and the new teams and just a lot of newness. And the next thing, you know, you're, you're live with all this newness trying to pull it off.

[00:33:42] Reim El Houni: So, for sure, the first month was difficult. And there were a lot of long, long hours especially because, you're in a situation where things were changing every day. And there were like national days for different countries every day. And every country had its own like plan and its own protocol.

[00:33:58] Reim El Houni: But it was so enjoyable and something that I would never replace. As tiring as it was, but it's, it's one of those experiences that you look back on and I'm just so glad we were able to successfully deliver every day. Live every day. And yeah, I look back on it and some, it was kind of a bit of like fog and could just think, did it happen?

[00:34:18] Reim El Houni: Did it, did it really happen? Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, amazing experience. 

[00:34:21] Surbhi Dedhia: That's that's an interesting to peek. Although I must mention here that, the listeners should go onto your profile and look back at all the posts that you were putting on LinkedIn consistently while you were at expo.

[00:34:35] Surbhi Dedhia: And that fascinated me because I mean, being from the marketing and knowing you, I feel that there was so much happening at Expo, how did you even have the time to do it on LinkedIn? You were just so committed. I can feel that there was such a sense of ownership and commitment that you had that every day I must do something to let the world know about this.

[00:34:58] Surbhi Dedhia: And that was like a window for us to look into expo from a very different way. 

[00:35:04] Reim El Houni: Honestly, like what you saw in my LinkedIn profile was a fraction, a tiny, tiny fraction of what was happening on a daily basis. I'm sure. And, I look back and I, I wish I'd actually captured a lot more to be honest, but yes, we were in the thick of it and there was a lot going on.

[00:35:20] Reim El Houni: So, it was, it was very difficult to keep my own marketing and branding going. But yeah, it is definitely the commitment. Believe it or not it's in my diary every day, LinkedIn is in my diary as a thing to do every day, because if it's not in my diary, there's a high chance I'll miss it or I'll skip it. And that's how important it is to me. I also believe that. Unless you make time for things and you schedule them, they won't happen. And that's like one of the biggest parts of like content creation and content is scheduling and all of it. So, uh, so even whilst I was at expo, I was super conscious about, did I do my LinkedIn post today?

[00:35:56] Reim El Houni: And if I didn't, it's like, oh my God, what, you know, why haven't I, what can I change? Or how can I plan ahead? Or like, what are the pillars that I have, or I think I had like one day where I managed to go into our studio for a couple of hours. And I just, like, I think I churned out about eight videos that day.

[00:36:11] Reim El Houni: And I consciously knew this was gonna take me through the next two months at, at expo. So right. You have to put those plans in place, especially. If you're going into a busy, busy period, because I've learned that I can't afford to not be visible and something that I'm always telling people, if you're not visible, You're invisible and that's, that's the key.

[00:36:33] Reim El Houni: So, you know, however busy you are make the time and yeah, if I'm able to do it during expo, then you can do it during whatever is you you're up to. 

[00:36:43] Surbhi Dedhia: Yes. Fantastic. Okay. I'm just thinking the kind of mental, physical, and emotional endurance that it may have put you through. Like, it is a rigor that you show up every day signed up for long hours. I'm sure you had no social life during those days, for six months. 

[00:37:00] Reim El Houni: That's very, very accurate, very accurate. Um, but do you know what was funny? It kind of reminded me of when I started in this industry. So, you know, I'm in an industry which is known for kind of long hours and weekends and, and late nights. That's what the TV film industry is, to be honest. Because believe it or not, the best times to film anything are always sunrise and sunset. So, guess what? You're always filming from the, before sunrise, till after sunset. And I remember when I started in the industry, I think it was like 23, 24 years ago, what you have to do to prove yourself to get in. So, you kind of work around the clock. I trained in London and I have to say, like, I remember my training as being gruelling, and being at expo, just brought loads of flashbacks, you know, because it was just one of those things where it was so new, it was so new and it was so important that it went well.

[00:37:53] Reim El Houni: And when it's that important, it's not one of those things where you delegate to the planet. Like I personally was there every day. There were days I slept there just to put this in perspective, because it was so important that, we had all our content right and that we filmed it right. And that everything went smoothly. And if it didn't, you know, what can we fix for tomorrow? That's the thing about daily, the minute you've, you've gotten off air, you've got another show in less than 24 hours. So, you have to like stop planning all over again and just try and be as organized as possible.

[00:38:22] Reim El Houni: It was gruelling. I have to say I've always been a hard worker, but one of the things that has always driven me through is being super positive, um, which drives people crazy. But it's one of those things where, right from the get go in the morning, we were starting at 6:00 AM every morning.

[00:38:39] Reim El Houni: And just for the record, I hate waking up in the morning. I am not a morning person in any way, shape or form. So, this just felt like an added kind of trial on top of things. Everyone knows this, the first question I ask is how are you? And the answer needs to be, I'm amazing. and so, if anyone even turns around and says, oh, I don't know, like, what do you mean?

[00:38:58] Reim El Houni: You don't know what's going on? No, no, no, no. I'm amazing. Great. That's what I thought you said, and you have to keep a very positive attitude throughout. Um, and because I'm working with a big team, I took on a lot of extra people for expo. So, we ended up being a significant team to pull off a daily live show and it all comes from you. So, if I'm positive, I believe it can happen. And I'm there along with them every day and I'm there at night, you know what everyone else is positive and everyone else has that energy and everyone else wants to make it work. So, I learned that a long time ago that if I'm expecting things to happen around me, um, and no matter how big they are, then I need to behave and act the way I want the team to behave and act.

[00:39:40] Reim El Houni: So as gruelling as it was, if you go through it positively smiling, making sure everyone realizes that, we need to maintain a positive environment for us to accomplish something big then it happens. And, and I have a super low tolerance for negativity, like a super low. I've I've asked people to leave just because they've been super negative.

[00:40:01] Reim El Houni: I just think that's, that's not the environment that I, I need to be around or I can be around to pull off something of this scale. It has to, it has to always be, um, safe, supportive, positive.

[00:40:14] Surbhi Dedhia: I'm thinking that probably you had like this checklist or, maybe you before reaching the studio, you kind of meditated just get in that Zen space to, to, to go there. You can't be positive unless you have that's something in you like, or you've done something that allows you to be positive. 

[00:40:32] Reim El Houni: I'm not the type of person who meditates. I'm not a meditator. I'm someone who, the minute I close my eyes, like my, my brain races through like all the hundred things I should have done or could have done, you know, I'm not, that's not who I am.

[00:40:42] Reim El Houni: And yes, I've read all the books and I've heard every, you know, the importance of being peace and quiet. I get it for me. It's a decision. So that's, it's, it's not about putting myself into a state. It's a decision it's like, I've decided I'm gonna be amazing today and I've decided everyone else is gonna be.

[00:40:59] Reim El Houni: And no matter how I may be feeling internally, the more I keep repeating it, changes you. I physically feel that change, you know, when I meet someone in the morning. Yeah. Oh, how are you? And they go, I'm, I'm amazing too. And suddenly you are, you've become what you say, you know? So, um, so the point I'm trying to make is, especially for those who maybe aren't the meditators and listening to this, you know, it's, it's not about that for me, at least it's about deciding that that is the state you're gonna be in, um, on a daily basis and deciding that everyone around you needs to be on a similar wavelength for things to work.

[00:41:38] Surbhi Dedhia: True and I think this is a very nice technique to adopt for people who want to, who are the non meditators or, you know, I mean, meditating is just one example. There could be other things, right? Like people do to get into that space. Maybe somebody eats like a chocolate bar listens to high energy music, things like that.

[00:41:56] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. There are tons of things people can do to get into that. A player state, right? Like the best of yourself. Did you evolve into a new person altogether after Expo like, did it kind of reshape you in a different way?

[00:42:13] Reim El Houni: That's a great question. Um, I'm not sure if it reshaped me, I think it reminded me of what I enjoy doing. I used to produce a lot of live TV content before I started my company. so that's like almost like over 11 years ago, Dubai one? Yeah, when I was at to Dubai one.

[00:42:33] Reim El Houni: And even prior to that, so this a specific energy that you get when you do live shows, which is very difficult to replace, everything else suddenly feels incredibly slow compared to live TV shows. I realized also, I've built Ti22 films over the last 11 years, we work with everyone from government to large organizations and often, there's a certain way you need to do things. Um, there's certain approaches you need to take. You don't always agree, but it's at the end of the day they're clients and, and you learn how to service clients. Yeah.

[00:43:05] Reim El Houni: But when you're doing a TV show it's great to have that kind of editorial angle and I didn't wanna say editorial control, but it is, it is having kind of a say in the content that you're putting out and how you're gonna put it, put it out. And when your exec producing a TV show, then you've had a say in. All the elements that put that, that show together. Whether, whether it be the name, the presenters, the look, the set, you know, it really starts to feel, you know, you own that project, and, um, and I quite enjoyed that and it kind of reminded me of I've always loved film and TV. Like this has always been my world since I was a kid, but going through this expo experience reminded me of what I enjoy most in that world.

[00:43:45] Reim El Houni: And I think coming out of it now, I'm really keen for the next TV project and, just to see where do I go from here, as opposed to, I don't wanna settle anymore. I don't wanna settle for my daily as much as I love them. And I appreciate them, you know, all my corporate clients, there's a place for that, but it's also about finding the type of projects that fulfill you.

[00:44:06] Reim El Houni: And, uh, and I realize that this was a kind of project that, that gave me a new challenge. You know, it gave me something new to work on because after you've been in the industry, as long as I have, it starts to get a little bit routine. Yeah. So, you wanna always be learning, you wanna always be evolving and you always wanna be trying something different.

[00:44:21] Reim El Houni: And this definitely tick those boxes for me. Yeah. Um, so it's, it's now it's like, where do you go from here? You know, so what's the next, the next challenge. That's kind of what I'm looking for now. 

[00:44:31] Surbhi Dedhia: You really like to be on the edge, isn't it? 

[00:44:34] Reim El Houni: Totally, you know, otherwise what's the point, you know, it's like, you wanna, you wanna keep evolving.

[00:44:39] Reim El Houni: And, and I think, you know, something we discussed earlier is that I'm in an industry that does evolve. I'm in an industry that changes all the time. And thankfully, I think that works with my personality because, I'll learn something new. I'm the type of person who'll learn something new.

[00:44:52] Reim El Houni: And then tomorrow I'll be like, how do we apply? You know, because it's, it's, that's how you keep evolving in your business as well is like, how do we use the new technology or how do we use this new concept or, oh, wow. That, that idea has worked really well in this way. Or sometimes to be honest, I watch a lot of TV.

[00:45:08] Surbhi Dedhia: Just ask you. Yeah. Do you watch? 

[00:45:10] Surbhi Dedhia: I watch a lot. 

[00:45:10] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah. Okay.

[00:45:11] Reim El Houni: I watch a lot. And for me it. When I'm watching, I'm, I'm also kind of observing and I'm taking stuff in and I'm, you know, sometimes like, oh, that's an interesting way to do that. And it kind of ends up kind of contributing or inspiring, a new, a new idea that we may apply on, some content that we're producing.

[00:45:28] Reim El Houni: So that feeds me. So, it's, I'm always learning. I'm always watching, I'm always wanting to know what other markets are doing. And yeah, expo was like that on like Super drive, because it's just, you were exposed to so much and it's like, okay, great. How do we now take that to the next level?

[00:45:43] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. So, what kind of TV shows do you see? what inspires you to go back to the TV or video content? 

[00:45:52] Reim El Houni: I watch so much content. It's not even funny, but I'm, I'm someone who I often look at what's being rated in other places. So, if something's had a good review in another country or something, I wanna know, like what's standing out somewhere else. I'm a big fan of just dramas and, you know, I've got like a bunch of Netflix shows that I follow. So, at the moment, just to give you an idea, I'm watching the Offer. Right. And the offer is like, for those of you who don't know, it's a, it's a paramount series that's been inspired on the book and the story of making the godfather. Right. And I'm a big fan of the godfather, but what's interesting about watching the offer is that they've tried to in the series kind of follow a similar style to the godfather the movie. There are so there are places in it where I'm like, oh, that I've seen that scene. They've kind of played with that a little differently or they've worked with the lighting a bit differently, or maybe even sometimes in the script and in the dialogue. It's like they've followed a similar format or sometimes literally taken, parts of the script that were in the film. And so, I don't think people watch shows as analytically as I do.

[00:46:56] Surbhi Dedhia: I'm imagining Reim sitting on a couch and with a note pad and pen. 

[00:46:59] Reim El Houni: You know, sometimes it happens sometimes. Like for me, all these shows that I watch, I'm often thinking about them very differently the average. Joe is. Which is why I enjoy it and why I end up watching so much because sometimes it's the music, you hear like a certain score that's being used and you're like, oh, that's interesting. That worked really well in that setting maybe. And you learn different things and, and you end up applying some of them. So, for me, as much as it is entertainment, but there's an element of it that that's useful. 

[00:47:25] Surbhi Dedhia: Oh, wow. What, what an exciting homework. I should go tell my kids that you do this for homework. They would be like, I want to get into that space. yeah. Yeah. Tell me about, um, this, as you were saying, the dramas and how you are analysing all this, because there is so, so many creative elements, like from the costumes to the dialogues, to the music now in the live TV, all these things are not. 

[00:47:50] Reim El Houni: Well, they are, they're just planned ahead of time, you know? So, in a similar way with a live TV show, like we did plan the set and the outfits and the wardrobe and the script, it's all planned. It's just this very little room for manoeuvre once you are on air. So, you know, but yes, all of the same components are still there.

[00:48:09] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. 

[00:48:09] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. So, and that's, that's what feeds you to kind of do it, improve it as you go along in your journey of learning. So that's one of your, um, base in that sense of creativity.

[00:48:19] Reim El Houni: I think also it's, it's when you're producing a TV show, it's like, how do you make this really interesting for an audience at home? Mm-hmm . And so, I think that's also given that I watch a lot of TV, you know, I'm always thinking, okay, I'm bored now. What made me change the channel? Or why did that stop being interesting. Okay. That interview took way too long, so I'm very conscious of how I behave as a viewer.

[00:48:39] Reim El Houni: And so, when I'm producing a TV show, it's a case of like, I don't want people to get bored. I don't want 'em to change a channel. How do we keep this interesting, so, so I'm very much someone who, if an interview is going to long, cut it. I don't believe in extending something for the sake of extending it, you know? you have to be conscious that there are so many choices audiences have right now that can tune into anything they wanna tune into. Right. So, if you wanna keep them engaged, make sure you're giving them something that warrants their interest. Um, so, so yeah, it's just keeping that fresh, keeping it engaging as much as possible.

[00:49:12] Surbhi Dedhia: True. And, this entire interaction with you has just brought back so many elements of like, not only just video. It's just about everything that you said, the creativity, the consistency, knowing where you want, what do you wanna be known for? I think the biggest takeaway for me today is like knowing what do you want to be known for? And just focusing on that one thing.

[00:49:34] Surbhi Dedhia: And people if you don't know where, Reim is she's already said that she's on LinkedIn. So please go like, follow her. The knowledge that she shares is absolutely brilliant. 

[00:49:44] Surbhi Dedhia: So, thank you Reem for coming on the show and making this such a fun conversation.

[00:49:48] Reim El Houni: Thank you so much for having me. 

[00:49:50] Reim El Houni: Thank you so much.