In the creator world, buzzwords and acronyms abound. And while not every one is relevant to you, UGC might be one to pay attention to. First off, what does UGC stand for? Simply put, UGC is an acronym for user-generated content and has been a tried-and-true marketing tactic for brands for years. Brands rely on this user-supplied content as a way to garner social proof, promote their product or service, and market themselves.
However, gathering authentic UGC—and lots of it—can be difficult, especially if you’re a newer brand. This is where UGC creators come in. UGC creators help brands to develop an entire library of user-generated content that doesn’t feel pushy or promotional and resonates well with each brand’s target audience.
In this post, you’ll learn more about what exactly a UGC creator is, what a UGC creator does, and how you can become one to bring in even more income.
Table of contents:
What is a UGC creator?
A UGC creator is a content creator who focuses specifically on creating user-generated content for brands. While this is paid content and not organic UGC, it still follows the same formula that makes organic UGC work so well.
User-generated content is so popular because it appeals to the social proof side of marketing psychology. Social proof is a phenomenon that dictates that consumers tend to copy the actions of others in order to emulate their experiences. For example, if someone sees a TikTok video of a woman with great skin sharing a skincare product she loves, they’re going to be much more likely to purchase that product than if they saw an ad directly from the brand talking about the product features and benefits.
This is where UGC creators come in. They are paid to create that content—the type that entices regular everyday consumers to make a purchase because they see other regular everyday consumers use it and enjoy it.
UGC creators vs. content creators
A content creator is a professional who creates content for brands for a living. They might create things like blog content, graphics, videos, ebooks, online courses, and more. You can learn more about what a content creator is and how it differs from an influencer in this blog post.
Content creators differ from UGC creators as UGC creators tend to make this type of content on the side. They’re regular social media users rather than professional creators.
UGC content creators vs. influencers
Influencers focus on building up their audiences. They also work with brands for paid promotional content, but they’re typically sharing the content on their own social media sites rather than sending it to the brand for their content platforms.
Influencers must have a large audience for them to appeal to brands. UGC creators don’t need any type of audience—they just need to be able to create good content for the brands to use.
How to become a UGC content creator
If UGC content creation sounds like something that might be right up your alley, let’s walk through a few steps you can take to become a UGC creator all on your own.
1. Choose your niche
This tip is the same across the board, no matter what type of content creation of business you find yourself getting into. Niching down helps you attract more of the businesses that you actually want to work with. Plus, then you have a portfolio filled with content that looks like what they’d probably be looking for. Choose a niche that you actually enjoy and are passionate about. For example, you might focus more on makeup or skincare products. You might want to work with home and gardening brands. Or you could choose to create content for cooking companies.
It’s not necessary to completely box yourself in—feel free to take any kind of work that you think seems interesting. But you don’t want to accept projects just for the sake of it to realize you have zero inspiration down the road.
2. Get your filming setup together
UGC content can consist of a number of things—case studies, graphics, photos, and videos—but one of the most common types that brands hire creators for is video content.
This means that once you’ve decided what types of businesses you’d like to work with, it’s time to get your filming setup together. You’ll need the right tools to record and edit your footage as well as a nice, bright area you can use to film.
You can simply use your smartphone to record your video footage, but other tools you might want to acquire include:
- Ring light or other lighting additions to supplement more light for your videos
- Lavalier mic to catch your voice and other sounds (like ASMR) while you record
- Backdrops to help provide different looks and feels for each video
- Props to use throughout your video content
- Editing software (or you can use the TikTok app) to finalize your video content
3. Create your starter portfolio
Once you’ve got your filming setup ready to go, it’s time to create sample content to build up a portfolio. A lot of UGC creators will grab products they already have and use those to create examples of the types of UGC content they could create for other brands.
Put together several videos—ideally using products within the niche you’re hoping to work in—and add it to your portfolio. You can create your portfolio using a tool like Canva then easily share it with prospective brands.
4. Network with brands you want to work with
The next step is to begin outreach. Create a list of brands you’d be interested in working with and locate their social media handles, websites, and any other potential contact information.
Before you start your outreach, create an email address and social media handles specific to your new UGC creation business. Use these new profiles to follow all of the brands on your list. You can also start to network with other creators in the community.
Then, start interacting with all of the brands you’d like to work with as well as any marketers or founders you can find for each one. Formulate your pitch and share it with them either on the social media platform you’ve been using or via email.
When you first start up, it may be slow going getting work, but don’t be discouraged. Keep pitching and eventually you’ll start seeing some deals come in.
Best UGC platforms for creators
There are also a number of platforms that UGC creators can join to help them find work. Social media in itself can be powerful, but here are a few platforms to pay attention to.
1. Join Brands
Join Brands has a creator platform that interested creators can join. Rates start at $60 per video and $15 per photo—plus free product to use when creating the content. Easily sign up to be a creator with Join Brands and start getting work with big brands in your preferred niche.
Billo is an app for video UGC creators to find clients and get paid. There are two tiers: Beginner Creator and PRO Creator. Beginners can have a basic film setup and is the perfect starting place while PRO creators are required to have a full film setup and professional knowledge of product video creation. This app is for US-based creators only.
Insense is another app made to connect creators and brands. The cost for brands starts at $50 per video, so the payout per video is somewhere in that ballpark for creators. It’s easy to apply and start finding brands to work with. Some creators working with this platform have made thousands of dollars creating UGC.
4. Brands Meet Creators
Brands Meet Creators is essentially like a job board to easily connect brands and creators. Creators can sign up to receive emails of opportunities or check out the board of available creator jobs. You can apply to jobs that interest you and brands get to sift through the applications to choose the best fit.
Upwork is a creator marketplace for all sorts of creative jobs—writing, video editing, graphic design, virtual assisting, and so much more. But the platform also has plenty of UGC creator jobs to check out as well. Look through the gigs to see if any interest you and start applying.
Do UGC creators make money?
Yes! UGC creators can make a good part-time or even full-time income. One UGC creator shares that she makes between $7-10k each month.
How much should I charge as a UGC creator?
Your rates will depend on your experience and the size of your portfolio. Minimum rates might start out at $50 for a single piece of content and can go up to $500 or more.