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Collaborating with User-Generated Content (UGC) creators is a popular and effective strategy companies use to generate more sales.
It was found that UGC influences 90% of consumer purchasing decisions and is 2.4x more likely to be viewed as authentic compared to brand-created content.
Another study by Photoslurp showed that UGC was 5x more likely to convert customers than Non-UGC.
It’s no wonder why the demand for them has skyrocketed in recent years and is not slowing down.
The best part is that you don’t need to be an influencer with a huge following to get started.
In this article, I go over how to become a UGC creator in 2023 and how you can work with your dream brands.
1) Pick a Niche
For those seeking to become a UGC creator, the first step should always be picking the right niche.
It is essential to select a niche that interests you and one where brands are actively looking for UGC creators.
It is also essential to consider what drives your passion and where you have expertise.
This could be anything from fashion to food or even gaming but make sure you know about the products and services in it.
At the same time, review industry trends for content that work well in that particular niche. It is essential to know what works and what doesn’t.
Simply go on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, type in relevant terms related to that industry, and browse the top-performing content.
Once you have identified the niche, the next step is to research its brands.
2) Researching Brands
Having a successful career as a User-Generated Content (UGC) creator is all about building meaningful connections with brands.
One of the most essential steps in doing this is to research the brands you want to work with.
You got to know what they want and how to make them like you.
Knowing what kind of content they have previously published and understanding their target audience can help you create content that will be more likely to appeal to them.
You could go to the brand’s social media pages and see what kind of content they have been posting. Keep an eye out for any content that features other creators.
Another way would be to use the Facebook Ad Library.
Select the country, and under the Ad Category, select All Ads followed by the brand to generate a list of all the ads they are currently running.
It’s also beneficial to spend some time researching the industry in general by looking at content creators already creating successful UGC campaigns for those brands.
Or you could simply look at what brands share with their customers.
This will give you insight into which strategies are working best so that you can better tailor your own approach when creating content for potential clients.
It’s also essential to stay up-to-date on new industry trends or collaborations. This information may come in handy when discussing potential campaigns with prospective partners.
3) Know the Structure of a Good UGC
A good piece of UGC generally has two components: the content itself and how it’s presented.
Good content should be interesting, relevant to your audience, and helpful in some way.
You should also pay close attention to how your content looks – make sure it’s visually appealing by using attractive visuals, clear captions, and well-thought-out camera angles.
Regarding how to present it, I like to follow the AIDA framework (Attract, Interest, Desire, and Action) during this process.Attract
If you are creating a video, the first part of the content should be easily digestible, entertaining, and exciting so that your viewers are “Attracted” to the rest of it. This is what many marketers would describe as a hook.
You can start by presenting the following:
This is where you usually try to be a problem agitator and invoke emotion regarding a potential customer’s struggles. This then incentivizes them to move on to the next part of the video.Interest
Once you’ve attracted viewers, the next step is to show them why your video is interesting by giving them a taste of what the rest of it offers.
Interest is created through more in-depth content and storytelling.
This section is where you inform viewers about a potential solution that you found, which can be an introduction to a product or service.Desire
After generating interest, it is time to tell them why they need that particular product/service.
This is the perfect time to showcase certain features and benefits, including demonstrations and applications.Action
The final step is to get them to take the desired action, usually through a purchase.
So remember to tell them where to go to execute that explicitly.
This is usually a product or service page of a company.
4) Get the Right Equipment
Having the right tools and resources can make all the difference in creating quality content that stands out from your competitors.
However, you must think you need a fancy studio set up with a mirrorless camera, professional lights, a shotgun mic, and industry-standard editing software.
That little device you have now in your pocket is all you need.
Mobile phones have come a long way, with many being able to film in 4K, which is overkill for social media to be honest.
In fact, 1080p is more than enough.
The whole point of UGC is that it should look like it was created by an actual user, which is uncurated, raw, authentic, and unrefined but still of a decent standard.
You are not trying to produce Hollywood-level content here, so don’t get caught up with the equipment.
And you are sadly mistaken if you think high production value makes up for poor content.
Brands need UGC creators to sell, not take their customers on a visual odyssey.
However, if there is one thing you should get, it’s a phone tripod for stability. Nobody likes a shaky video.
An optional purchase is a ring light, or you can simply use daylight.
5) Start Making UGC Content
Now that you have researched and understood the fundamentals, it’s time to start creating content.
Most UGC creators make short-form videos or photos to be distributed across various channels by their companies.
However, any other content medium, like blog posts, testimonials, comments, etc., all fall under the same umbrella of UGC as long as it appears to have come from an organic user.
Let’s say you decided to be a short-form video creator.
Now it’s time to set up your social channels, preferably on Instagram or TikTok.
But you are wondering, “How can I make any content if I don’t have any products or services yet to promote?”
Remember, you are not trying to be an influencer and grow a following.
The goal is to practice content creation and showcase your skills on a public platform for brands to reference in the future.
So take any of your favorite products/services and review them while considering all the concepts I mentioned in the above sections.
The point is to get started, be comfortable being on camera, and hone your production skills.
Starting with content creation is the scariest part.
So if you need guidance on overcoming that roadblock, you can review my article on content creation fears.
6) Build a UGC Portfolio
After accumulating a lot of content, you should start building your UGC portfolio.
Before reaching out to brands, you must show evidence that you can do the job.
This usually means having a dedicated document as a PDF which can be made using a free tool like Canva, Powerpoint, or Google slides.
This document should, at the very least, showcase the following:
However, I would go one step beyond and show more initiative by making a dedicated short introduction video tailored to each company you contact.
And suppose you are REALLY serious about it. You could even make your own online portfolio with a website builder like WIX or Squarespace.
7) Pitching to Brands
Now that you have assembled your portfolio, it’s time to get acquainted with the brands you want to work with.
This can be done by engaging and interacting with them using the following methods:
Whichever method you choose, always include these:
8) Negotiating and Contracting
You must carry out the unsexy task of negotiating and contracting with brands upon a successful engagement.
It’s vital that you have a legally binding document that lays out every single detail.
This is not just a formality but also for your protection if the brand fails to fulfill its promises or tries to alter the previously agreed terms.
Here’s what you should know.
The first step in negotiating and contracting is to understand the scope of work that needs to be done.
You’ll need to define precisely what services will be provided, such as video creation, photography, editing, and scripting, in addition to the due dates, payment terms, and the number of revisions.
It’s crucial also to outline the deliverables associated with the project so that both parties are on the same page moving forward with no confusion when payment is due at the end of the project.
Lastly, keep your clients updated and informed about the progress and any potential roadblocks that may prevent you from completing the work on time.
You want your clients to feel confident in your content creation skills and professionalism.
Here is a free freelance contract template from LegalTemplates that you can customize for your own use.
Alternatively, you can go to Fiverr or Upwork and hire a legal professional to make it.
9) Delivering the Content to Brands
After spending all that hard work creating the content, it’s time to package your deliverables and send them off professionally.
Generally, most brands will be okay with receiving a link to a shared cloud storage app like Google Drive or Dropbox, where they can simply download the assets.
However, it depends on the requirements layout by them.
Stay in constant communication with their representative and politely adhere to their preferred delivery method.
For most of us, naming conventions of media on our computers are usually disorganized and senseless.
Examples include 23dkkf20694.mp4 or IMG_4231.MOV.
Both could be more polished and professional to give the brand more context.
I would instead go for something like [product/service]-[type of content]-[ratio or resolution].
So it will turn out like this, earphones-review-1080×1920.mp4.
While this is not the gold standard, it’s at least more palatable and clean.
10) Invoicing and Upselling Yourself
Once the asset handover is successful, send the brand a professional invoice detailing the project and where to make payment.
This document will usually include the following:
It doesn’t have to be complicated.
You can do a simple Google search for various templates and replicate them on your preferred text document software like Google Docs. Canva is also a good option here.
This is also an excellent time to upsell yourself by letting them know you are open to a longer-term collaboration.
You could even offer a reduced price if they agree to engage you monthly.
Assuming you did everything right and they are satisfied with your work, it’s an offer hard to resist.
11) Get Feedback on Your Content (Optional)
Although optional, I highly recommend it.
You should always follow up after a few weeks to check your content’s performance.
Brands would either distribute your assets across their online channels or run ads with them.
Either way, they will constantly be tracking social metrics such as likes, comments, shares, or performance metrics like return on ad spend and more (if they run ads).
This allows you to nurture the relationship with them and get much-needed feedback on your content because you aren’t distributing them yourself.
Otherwise, you won’t know whether you are doing the right thing.
How to Become a UGC Creator (FAQ)
Why Do Brands Love UGC Creators?
Partnering with UGC creators is more cost-effective than with influencers. Their content is seen as more credible than traditional advertising methods since it comes directly from real people who use the product or service being promoted.
Plus, due to its authenticity, user-generated content is much more effective at connecting with target audiences than other forms of marketing material.
Do I Need Followers To Be a UGC Creator?
The simple answer is no, you don’t because UGC creators don’t share their work on their own social profiles as such, have no need for an audience. They instead make content for brands to use in their own marketing initiatives.
How Much Do UGC Creators Make?
The potential earnings of UGC creators vary greatly depending on their experience level, platform choice, and performance rates. Smaller UGC creators can see anywhere from $100-$250 per video, depending on their experience.
In contrast, seasoned veterans with professional marketing experience that can provide value-added services while creating content can see upwards of $1000.
Can Anyone Be a UGC Creator?
Absolutely! Anyone can create UGC for brands, as UGC creators are not paid for their influence. They are engaged for their ability to produce content that appears to come from an organic user.
All you need is practice, some creativity, and the right tools. You don’t have to be an expert or have special skills, but having those will benefit you when reaching out to companies you want to collaborate with.
What Does a UGC Creator Do?
A UGC creator is a creator who specializes in making social media content that appears as if it came from an organic user for brands to be shared on their platforms. UGC can include videos, images, written posts, and other forms of online expression.
What Is UGC?
User Generated Content (UGC) is a type of online content created and shared by members of the public. It includes posts, images, videos, and other forms of media posted on social networking sites such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. UGC has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to engage consumers more personally than traditional marketing campaigns.
UGC can be used to promote brands or products by allowing customers to share their own experiences with them. Companies can also use UGC to gain insights into the interests of their target audience and make better decisions about future campaigns. With the rise of influencer marketing, many individuals have created UGC to establish themselves as experts in their field or industry.
Why Is UGC Valuable?
UGC is valuable because it allows businesses to tap into their customers’ creativity and get them involved in building a product or service that resonates with people. It also provides valuable customer feedback about what they like and doesn’t like about a company’s offerings.
Is Being a UGC Creator a Sustainable Career?
The answer varies depending on the individual’s career goals and plans. On the one hand, some UGC creators have made themselves household names and established sizable income streams from their uploads.
However, most of these individuals had to put in years of hard work and have a proven track record to show for it. Therefore, if someone is looking for an easy route to fame and fortune overnight, they may want to look elsewhere.
On the other hand, those willing to start small but stay consistent can bring in a steady income from becoming a successful UGC creator over time.
What Is the Difference Between a UGC Creator and an Influencer?
UGC creators create content for brands or companies to distribute across their marketing channels. At the same time, influencers are paid through brand deals or sponsorships to promote products and services to their audiences.
A UGC creator will work with a brand to create sponsored content that fits within their style, voice, and aesthetic. On the other hand, an influencer has more freedom to promote products they love or simply share stories from their everyday lives regardless of who sponsors them—or if anyone does at all.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, becoming a UGC creator is definitely a hot profession with a lot of demand.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you should have a solid foundation for getting started.
Over time, once you’ve built a strong track record and gained some testimonials, consider investing in better equipment or software to upgrade your production value and take it to the next level.
Who knows? You could even turn content creation into a successful career if you put enough effort into it.
If you liked this guide, don’t forget to share it!
And if you have any questions or feel I missed something, let me know in the comments below!
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About the author
Brendan is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at brendanaw.com™, where he helps others succeed in the creator economy. Before launching his blog, he was the marketing manager at various E-commerce, NFTs, Crypto, Marketing Consultancy, Finance, and E-sports companies. He now works on his family’s luxury lighting business in Cambodia while documenting his journey as a creator online.
Learn more about me.