Have you ever wanted to get paid for speaking on camera? Now, with the power of the internet, you can with UGC (user-generated content).
With platforms like TikTok and Instagram attracting 680 million and 1 billion active users every month respectively, it’s now more possible than ever to record content from the comfort of your home and make money.
But with the exploding growth of social media also comes a vast and dynamic world of influencer marketing, dealing with brands, and competition.
If this world seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Many aspiring UGC creators feel exactly the same. That’s why this article covers exactly what you need to do to become a successful UGC creator and start making good money right away.
So whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been doing it for a while but haven’t seen the results you want, this guide is for you.
What is a UGC Creator?
UGC stands for user-generated content. This refers to any content that is made by a user featuring a product or service.
A UGC creator is exactly what it sounds like, they are content creators that make content about products and services. Brands then pay the UGC creator in exchange for using the content in their marketing strategy.
Brands will use UGC content to increase brand awareness, establish credibility and social proof, and highlight specific products and services.
Is Becoming a UGC Creator Worth it?
There are many different reasons why someone could want to become a UGC creator.
Maybe you need to make some extra cash to save up money or support yourself.
Maybe you just like making content and thought might as well get paid for it.
Maybe you want to quit your job and work for yourself full-time.
Whatever the reason is, the short answer is yes! Becoming a UGC creator is absolutely worth it. Like anything, it won’t be easy at first. But once you establish yourself as a reputable UGC, the sky is the limit for reaching and exceeding your goals.
NOTE: You have to be comfortable on camera to be a successful UGC creator. Your job will involve speaking to the camera and making lots of engaging content. Brands will expect you to deliver even when you don’t feel like it.
If you don’t enjoy being on camera and posting your videos onto the internet, it will be hard to come off as engaging and compete with other UGC creators that enjoy the process.
Luckily, you can learn to be comfortable on camera with practice, so if you are unsure, just start recording – you can hone your content creation skills in the process.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Becoming a UGC Creator
Becoming a UGC content creator doesn’t happen overnight. You have to follow a process of starting a channel, producing content, building an audience, and pitching your services.
This might seem like a lot, but if you do everything in the right order, you can get up and running and win your first gigs right away.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for becoming a UGC creator:
1. Get the Right Equipment
The first thing you need to get started as a UGC creator is some recording equipment. As a beginner, you don’t need anything fancy to get started – just the bare minimum to record videos:
- smartphone with a good camera
- Good lighting – ring light
Most of UGC content these days is shot in upright format for viewing on phone apps. Therefore, a smartphone with a good camera works great for shooting UGC videos.
To record yourself, you’ll need a tripod to hold your camera. Get something that has extendable legs so you can position it on the floor or on a table.
Good lighting is a must for recording high-quality content that brands expect from their UGC creators. Get a simple ring light to achieve the professional video quality that you need.
2. Start a Channel
Before brands can take you seriously as a UGC creator, you have to build an audience in some form or another. You don’t need a huge following to get the attention of specific brands, but you do need to show that you can produce authentic content that people resonate with.
Having an online audience shows brands that:
- You have experience on camera
- People engage with your content
- You are aligned with their brand/niche
There are tons of ways to build an audience online today, but it comes down to picking a channel and starting to produce content.
The Best Social Media Channels for UGC Creators
Instagram is the perfect platform for UGC creators. It’s mobile-first format makes it easy to record videos and great for testing out ideas. It also has tons of features to help you grow a following quickly, including stories, polls, reactions, hashtags, and more.
Youtube channel is the largest platform for video content, hosting over 800 million videos. It has some great features for content creators to grow an audience, such as embedding your videos in other websites, blog posts, or even email newsletters. YouTube has both long-form video formats and short-form “shorts” which can be leveraged for UGC content.
TikTok’s format is perfect for making short-form videos that people engage with from all over the world. Plus, it is very popular with Gen Z which gives you leverage with brands looking to reach a younger demographic.
Snapchat is a great platform for UGC creators as it allows you to create mobile content quickly and post engaging videos that are in the moment. It also has some tools that can help you build an audience quickly such as adding friends by phone number.
Once you’ve chosen a social media channel, start posting and building a presence, the more eyeballs you can get, the more leverage you’ll have to pitch yourself as a UGC to brands.
3. Build a UGC Portfolio
A UGC portfolio is a collection of content that you can show to brands to get hired. this is a very important step for your personal branding.
When you’re marketing your UGC services, you can’t be everything to everyone, especially when you’re just starting out. Brands will be looking for content creators that have a specific style, audience, and niche. So it’s important that you post content about a certain topic.
For example, if you branded yourself as a sports content creator but then approached brands in the beauty niche, it just wouldn’t be a good fit. Therefore, choose a niche and create UGC videos around that.
Your portfolio should feature a collection of product reviews, tutorials, and unboxing products and services within your niche.
Save your videos in a google drive folder, and make a PowerPoint presentation that has screenshots of your videos and hypertext links leading to the private video folder.
Write an elevator pitch explaining who you are, what you do, and the services that you can provide to brands. Always remember to focus on the benefits of your UGC services rather than the features.
4. Pitch Yourself as a UGC Creator to Brands and Agencies
Once you’ve got a channel, some followers, and a content portfolio, it’s time to get hired as a UGC creator. Typically, the people that will hire you are from brands and marketing agencies taht need UGC content for their marketing strategy.
Your job is to reach out to these brands and agencies and sell your UGC services.
Note: When you’re selling your UGC services, it’s important to look at it from the brand’s perspective. The most successful pitches will be highly targeted to the brand’s needs. Before reaching out, do a little research into your target brands to find these things:
- what are the brand’s channels?
- what is the brand’s target audience?
- what are the brand’s products?
- what branded content do they already have?
Tailor your communications to empathize with the brand and explain how your UGC services will help them specifically. When you speak directly to your customer’s needs, you will be much more successful in winning their business.
There are several ways to reach out to brands and pitch your services:
- Do direct outreach
- Inbound Marketing
- Register on Third-party Marketplaces
Do Direct Outreach
Once you’ve identified your target brands or agencies, its time to reach out and pitch yourself! The key to successful outreach is to reach the right person.
If you just send generic emails to the info@ or support@ emails listed on the company’s contact pages, you probably won’t get a response.
Instead, find the exact person within the company that care’s about content and send a highly personalized email that begins with a compliment.
The first step in the process is to find the right person. You can do this by using prospecting tools like LinkedIn Navigator to find the email addresses of specific people within a company.
You should be looking for contacts that have titles such as “Social Media Manager”, or “Content Manager” – these are the people whose job it is to find and create social media content that they can use in their content strategy.
Check out this article for in-depth instructions on how to build a highly targeted prospect list.
Once you’ve found the email address of the right person in a company, it’s time to write a personalized outreach email. When you’re writing outreach emails, its important to add value before asking for value in return – if you launch right into your pitch, it comes off as selfish and you won’t get a response.
Instead, start out your email with a complement to the brand or the contact and followup with a personalized response. The general structure of your outreach emails should be as follows:
- call to action
Here’s an example outreach email:
Subject: Ryan, nice work with The Soap Company campaign
My name is Matt Nawrot, I’m a content creator in the health and wellness niche. I make videos to teach and inspire people to live healthier lives.
Nice work with The Soap Company’s new soap launch. I thought your messaging about how soap impacts people’s everyday lives was ingenious. The social ads mixed seamlessly with the health conference sponsorship and made for a truly impactful product launch.
The Soap Company speaks to a highly engaged and informed audience, one that has lots of overlap with my own audience. I was wondering if we could talk about collaborating together and having me make UGC content for some key The Soap Company products.
Here’s my portfolio of UGC content that I’ve made in the past (Insert link to google drive).
Let me know what you think.
If you send out a highly personalized email like the one above, you will have a much higher response rate. However, you’ll likely hear far more nos than yeses. So make sure you send 2 follow-up emails and stay dedicated to your outreach efforts. Eventually, you will get a yes and be able to land your first gig!
Reaching out directly is not the only way to get attention from brands – you can also do inbound marketing. Inbound marketing involves creating valuable content and experiences for a target auridence to attract them to your business.
Start publishing content in your niche around the products and services that you want to promote. The idea is to get “discovered” by brands that could use you as a UGC creator.
Note: A great way to supercharge your inbound marketing is to use branded hashtags to get attention. When you use #thesoapcompany or @thesoapcompany in your social media posts, the social media manager at the brand will see your post.
After enough posting, you’ll start to get some responses from brands that are interested in your content – start a conversation and pitch your UGC services from there.
Register on a Third-party Marketplace
Another way to land a gig for your UGC creation is to make an account on third-party marketplaces. UGC content marketplaces connect brands and UGC creators together. Here are a few marketplaces you should make a listing on:
5. Schedule a Call with the Brand Rep
Once you’ve made contact with a brand that’s interested in your UGC content creation, make sure to schedule a call with the brand rep.
The phone call is meant to explore the project and discuss the nature of your engagement with the brand. Make sure you prepare for this call with any questions you have about working for the brand as well as relevant information that they could ask.
Some brands will have established UGC content programs, while others may need to flesh out the details. Whatever the case, make sure that you stand up for yourself and negotiate a fair arrangement.
You can use a program such as calendly to schedule calls and keep organized.
6. Send a Proposal
Once you’ve sat down with the brand rep and learned about their needs, its time to write a proposal. This document is meant to outline exactly what user generated content creation you are offering to the brand.
The proposal should include everything from your creative ideas to your price:
- how many videos are you producing
- is the content short-form or long-form
- how will you deliver the content and in what format
The proposal should make the proposed project deliverables very clear and give the brand an opportunity to make sure everyone is on the same page.
7. Send a Contract
Sending a contract is a very important step when creating content for ugc jobs. It may be tempting to start working on a handshake, but is very important to make the terms of your engagement crystal clear. This will protect you from any disagreements in the future as your work terms will all be in writing and signed by both parties.
A contract should include the following:
- Budget (how much you will get paid)
- When payment will be made (it is very common for user-generated content creators to get paid 50% at signing and 50% once deliverables are completed)
- How many revisions will be accepted – many brands will want revisions and retakes so make sure you mention how many you are prepared to do (one or two is reasonable, three or more is not)
- the timeframe for delivering the content
Once you have verbally agreed to produce user-generated content for the brand, write a contract with the elements included above, and send it over to be signed.
8. Record Your UGC
It’s time to create content! Take all the guidelines agreed upon in the contract and the proposal and record your UGC videos. Make sure you use the proper format for different platforms such as upright for mobile and landscape for youtube.
9. Get Paid
Once the videos are on google drive and delivered to the client, it’s time to get paid. Set up a payment processing platform such as QuickBooks, PaySimple or Stripe to send an invoice and collect payment from your client.
Remember to ask for payment in the right order at the right time – if you asked for 50% on signing and 50% upon delivery, make sure you get paid
10. Send Videos Over to the Client
Edit the videos and upload them onto a google drive to deliver to your client.
Creating user-generated content (UGC) for brands is a great way to make money if you’re a content creator. This article outlines the tried and true way to start a profitable UGC creator business. If it seems like a lot, that is completely normal so don’t feel overwhelmed.
If you follow the steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to landing your first gig. Once you have some experience, the jobs will start rolling in.
How much can you make as a UGC creator?
$100 – $200 for new UGC creators. More experienced content creators can get paid $500 – $1000 per video. $3,000 – $4,000 per month is reasonable. Some people make 6-figures per month with UGC alone.
How many followers do you need to get hired as a UGC creator?
While having followers can help you get noticed by brands, you don’t need a certain number of followers to get hired as a UGC creator. In fact, some contracts involve producing content without posting them on your own social media platforms at all.
What is the difference between an influencer and a UGC creator?
Brands hire UGC creators to promote products or services by creating content that is used on the brand’s own channels. Influencers are similar in that they are hired to promote a brand, however, the content is also posted on the influencer’s channel to increase brand awareness.