You no longer need to have thousands of followers in order to work with brands and get paid create content – welcome to the world of UGC creators. I’ve been a content creator for 6 years and pivoted into UGC content 2 years ago, and today I’m going to show you how to become a UGC creator and content creator too. You don’t even have to post anything on your own personal social media accounts! Imagine getting sent products to your home, taking photos and videos of the products and using the products that you then send to the brand to use on their social media, and then get paid. You don’t even have to show your face if you don’t want to!
This is one of the top ways to work remotely and work from anywhere as a content creator, by working with brands and businesses to get paid to create content they can use on for their social media and digital marketing.
Becoming a user-generated content (UGC) creator can be a great way to monetize your creative skills and social media presence and showcase your creativity. But where do you start? In this step-by-step guide, I’ll walk you through exactly the steps to becoming a successful UGC creator.
UGC stands for User-generated content, which is original content (photo, video, text, review) created by customers on social media. UGC can be photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, podcasts, etc. A customer who posted a picture in their new dress and tagged the brand on social media? That’s a piece of UGC. Anyone can create user-generated content.
So UGC is really just content creation for brands and businesses – BUT – it is now specifically as of 2021 thought of as short-form video content that feels organic to what you would come across on Tiktok.
See, on social media, apps, if the content style of an AD is drastically different from the content that is being consumed by users, they KNOW to skip past it. So how do brands and businesses get what they are selling in front of users? By blending in with the rest of the content, so you that you don’t REALIZE you’re watching an ad.
Technically, there are many types of user-generated content, both organic and created. The purpose of UGC is to hopefully influence a user to purchase, so that is done through several formats like:
But the “it” form of UGC content today is Tiktok-style short-form videos that showcase a product or service of a business or brand. So if you want to become a successful UGC creator, this will be your focus.
So this is the new UGC – content that feels organic to the platform, where you don’t realize you’re suddenly watching something that is promoting or showcasing a brand or business. Truly, it is just another form of content creation and creators have adapted the term UGC for this style of content.
With the rise of UGC creators in the creator economy, this is most commonly short-form videos that are created to show off a product or service that would make a viewer want to purchase. They are designed to feel very organic, natural, as if it’s your friend showing you her latest purchase and how it’s changed her life, routine, etc.
This is a creator who specifically creates UGC, user generated content, to appear authentic, but is created to showcase & explain a specific product, business, hotel, destination, etc. UGC Creators are paid by brands to create content that feels like traditional UGC, and is designed to showcase and sell the product or service.
The popular UGC creator today, this is where you make videos and photos for brands and businesses that you DON’T have to post on your personal social accounts! It’s not about how many followers you have, or having a brand, but just creating engaging (mostly short-form video) content businesses and brands that they can use to post on THEIR social media page or to run as an AD on social media like Instagram and Tiktok.
Being a creator and UGC creator has sooo many great benefits. Not only do you get to do something fun, easy and enjoyable to make money, but you can make it your full-time job and career. The creator economy has grown to over $100 billion – and it’s growing. I’ve been in this industry for over 6 years now, and it’s only GROWN – it’s not going anywhere.
You don’t need to have any sort of social following to become a UGC creator, and you don’t need to post to your personal pages and profiles the content you make.
You can get tons of free products in order to create the content for them – a value in itself! It feels like Christmas every week with packages showing up on my doorstep. I feel like I get to online shop without using my own card. I’m not only getting products or services I use anyways, but get to help the business or brand too.
You can make more money in an hour as a content creator than many other traditional jobs. Rates for UGC videos run at about $100-$250/video, and you can make SEVERAL videos in an hour, from the comfort of your home or wherever you want. So you’re making $100-$200+ an hour as a UGC and content creator!
You’re really respected as a creator and seen as the expert – I don’t feel micromanaged, and instead looked up to for my ideas.
You can do this job from anywhere you want, in the comfort of your home, on the beach, on trips while you travel, while your baby naps, while your kids are at school.. you get to make your schedule, determine your hours, how much you want to work or how little. You’re the boss and in control, and your income is uncapped!
There are soo many benefits to being a content and UGC creator, I am personally so grateful I found this path that allows me to work from anywhere, have a job that lets me be creative, make MORE money than in my 9-5, and have a flexible schedule to be home as a mom.
I started creating content for brands 5 years ago in 2018 before the term popularly came about. I started out as an influencer, but I increasingly saw that more brands wanted just CONTENT they could use, versus only advertising and sponsored posts to reach a new audience. See, brands and businesses need BOTH, but they are constantly in need of fresh new content to sell their products or services.
I would offer to brands not just a sponsored post on my page to advertise their product to my audience and community, but I would also offer content creation for them of photos or videos they could use on their own social media and in their marketing. I noticed the amount of brands that started wanting ONLY content they could use increased over the years. Up until 2020, I found brands mostly wanted photography content creation versus video content creation.
Now the type of content they also want is not just the content creation of photos and videos, but specifically the tiktok-style short form video content that UGC has become.
Like I said before, I started out as a creator and influencer, but mostly focused on content creation. I essentially started doing UGC starting as early as 2017, the difference now is the style of the content creation has changed. Being a UGC creator is just the new “term” to designate for a specific type of content, but it’s the same as being a freelance content creator.
Demand for UGC and creators really skyrocketed after the rise of Tiktok in 2020 with a new preference for short-form video. Brand started doing sponsored content with new tiktokers (like myself – I also took to the platform in 2019 and blew up on it in 2020), but this content had a different style than Instagram. This type of content felt more organic, and showed off products even better. Brands started to see even better conversions with this new type of content and many started focusing on adding short-form video UGC to their needs.
So in 2021, I started offering to brands and businesses this new type of content creation, what we know as the popular UGC content – more organic and natural short-form videos that show off the brand and product coming from a user and customer. It’s taken off ever since, as more and more brands want more UGC style content.
So, I made sure to adapt and pivot the type of content I offered to brands to create to follow the new style, this new UGC tiktok / short form video style that felt more organic.
I love that as a creator, I can work from anywhere I want, make more money, travel, and stay home with my son. It’s truly been such a blessing and a great career!
UGC helps influence purchasing, increase engagement and brand awareness. It’s different than influencer marketing – which is about reaching a new audience through a trusted source (the influencer) who has built a community that knows, likes, and trusts them. With influencer marketing, the content created for it is based around the influencer’s brand and style and how they integrate it and usually show up to their audience. But with UGC, it’s about the BRAND and the PRODUCT itself, not about you the creator. Today’s UGC is product focused. UGC content, being more focused on the end result of “selling” the product or service, can have a high conversion rate.
There are many benefits to UGC like
No, influencers are not dying and influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere, but now we have more opportunities for more creators to enter the social media scene (and make money doing it) with UGC. Additionally, if you think you want to become an influencer, starting out as a UGC creator is an even better way to get started with working with brands since you don’t need to have a community and following.
Becoming a UGC and Content Creator first before building a following and community as an Influencer can allow you to test the waters if content creation and working with brands is for you. You can build your following after, with more knowledge of the industry (which will help you, even more, choose a profitable niche as an influencer and creator!)
I break down in my youtube video here the key differences of why brands hire an influencer vs. a content creator vs. ugc creators and what each can do differently for a brand or business.
So let’s dive into how YOU can become a content creator and UGC creator today. The process is SUPER simple to become a UGC creator. You don’t need a college degree, or any experience from prior jobs. You only need to gather a few things in order to become a UGC creator and start landing jobs as a UGC creator with brands and businesses. The process is very similar to becoming a content creator in general, but you do need to focus on the types of content that brands what now that are considered “UGC” content.
You need to do 3 things, the CCC I call it, to become a UGC and content creator and start working with brands. This is my signature CCC method I teach in the Collaboration Guide to my creator students (join the waitlist here).
The 3 C’s and 3 steps to become a working UGC creator are:
These are the things you need to have and do to become a UGC creator and content creator this year. You can do all of this within a week! It’s pretty simple to become a UGC Creator, you just need to do it! There are 3 things you need to have first to start you UGC creator journey: a portfolio of content, a portfolio site to showcase the content on, and an optional media kit if you want to also do micro-influencer partnerships to create content on your own social media for brands.
You need to have content to show to brand and businesses that demonstrate what you can make for them. They want to SEE your work before they pay you! They need to feel confident you can make something for them that they want and that will work for their brand and business. We do that by having examples already!
The first step to becoming a UGC creator is to create a portfolio of your work. This should include a mix of informational, aesthetic, product, and lifestyle photos and videos. Start by showcasing products you already use and love, and make sure to include a variety of content to demonstrate your range.
You can create your portfolio of content with products you already use. Have a mix of informational, aesthetic, product & lifestyle photos + videos for your portfolio. Here is what I suggest:
2 formats: video and photo
2 types: lifestyle and product focused
2 styles: aesthetic and informational
I call this my Magic 8 content method (222=8) because you’ll end up with 8 pieces of content for your portfolio, and it covers all the types brands will be looking for.
I suggest that you pick just one category/industry to start with – so pick fashion, beauty, pet, skincare, etc and make (or pull from your existing content) these 8 pieces. This way you can show brands you can make different types of content for them in the same category. Brands want to see you can create for their industry, so it helps to have enough for each industry you want to work with.
I have a free guide you can download right here that walks you through each type of UGC and Brand collaboration content you can get paid to make for brands and businesses
Start creating this content by pulling your favorite products at home or staying at your favorite hotel, go to a favorite restaurant, etc and make the content for your portfolio.
I have made a completely FREE guide for you diving into the types of content you can create to build your UGC portfolio (which also serves as a guide of ideas for the paid content to create for brands that they want!). You can download my free guide how to get started creating UGC and content for brand collaborations here or below.
After you’ve created your content, it’s time to create a portfolio site. Canva is a great platform to use for this, as it’s easy to use and offers a variety of templates to choose from.
On your portfolio site, you want to include the following:
You can preview my portfolio for UGC here as some inspiration! Or download my UGC portfolio template here for Canva to make it easily! (I also have it as part of my entire collaboration kit you can download with the other things you’ll need, which I cover in this guide, for a bundle discount as well!)
If you want to also work with brands on sponsored content on your social media (no matter your following size!) you’ll also want a media kit that shows samples of your work AND your demographics and statistics all about your audience .
Once you have all this done, you are ready to start working with brands and collaboration to create UGC and content they can use on their social pages!
Now it’s time for phase 2 of my CCC UGC creator framework, CONTACT. Once you have your portfolio and media kit in place, it’s time to start reaching out to brands. One way to do this is to join creator/UGC platforms, which connect brands with creators. You can also find brands you want to work with on Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter and DM them to ask what email is best for collaborations. Make sure to have your email in your bio so brands can easily get in touch with you.
It’s also important to post your work on your socials or make a new account on Tiktok, Twitter, (and Instagram if you want) specifically for UGC and tag the brands you’re working with on those posts if you don’t want to post them on your personal social media. We’ll also need to set your standard base rates for UGC content creation so you can pitch.
There are many creator and UGC platforms to find work on and this takes a lot of the work off of you to hunt and find brands to work with because you know they ALREADY want to work with creators if they are on these platforms. I have a full list you can download here in my collaboration kit, along with everything else you’ll need to start working with brands as a creator.
Search on Twitter for job postings looking for content creators under hashtags like #ugccreator. Also search on upwork and fiverrr for listings looking for content creators. Find brands you want to work with on Tiktok and Instagram who are working with creators and DM them to ask for the best contact so you can send them an email to pitch working with them.
First, make sure your email is in your bio, add a link to your portfolio and post your work on socials. I find the UGC / creator platforms sometimes want links to tiktoks or instagram reels as examples, so its easy to have them both on the platforms and your portfolios. Posting them on tiktok and instagram will also attract collborations so make sure to tag the brands. Start using hashtags like #ugccreator on your posts and work of ugc content.
When it comes to rates, UGC starts at $100/video. For sponsored posts of brand collaborations on your Instagram or Tiktok, your base rate can start at $100/10k followers (you will need to charge for more like usage rights, engagement, exclusivity, etc).
When you’re ready to start pitching brands and applying to campaigns, make sure to introduce yourself and focus on what you can provide for them. Research the brand and share what you love about it. Give two or more content ideas and link to your examples (only for the same industry though! e.g. a hair product video you made if pitching a hair brand). If you are sending an email, close with a call to action or question, and include your handles/portfolio/media kit linked (don’t attach any files to your email!).
Finally, consider offering packages with discounts, such as one video for $100 or three for $250. You can also offer discounted packages for long-term collaborations (3-6 months) at a discounted rate.
Creator platforms are a great way to start getting work as as a UGC creator with brand collaborations. They take a lot of the work out of it for you and have someone managing the process, which makes it easier for you. They streamline the payment process so you don’t always have to be sending invoices as well. You can also leverage gifting campaigns to build your portfolio out more!
The important thing is to make your pitch about THEM. Introduce yourself & focus on what you PROVIDE THEM. Research & share what you love about the brand. Give 2+ content IDEAS + link your examples (only for same industry EG a hair product video you made if pitching a hair brand). close with a call to action/question. Include your handles/portfolio/media kit linked in the email (don’t attach them!)
Also create packages with discounts (example: 1 video for $100 or 3 for $250) & discounted packages for long term (3-6months) to offer to brands you are pitching through email. Packages are the best way to increase how much you can earn as a creator and your total deal size by making it a better deal for the brand.
You’ll also want to make sure to charge for add-ons and additional things like licensing, usage, whitelisting, etc, which I explain more of in this blog post here.
I also go into detail in my youtube video about what to charge for as a creator and in this video here about how to make more money as a creator and structure higher paying deals and collaborations with brands.
I have all the email templates you could need in my collaboration kit which you can download here to make it easy for you! These are my exact templates I’ve used that have helped me build my six-figure business as a content creator and land 4 and 5-figure brand collaborations and UGC deals. You can grab the whole kit and email templates here! It includes ALL the best platforms to join as a creator to apply to campaigns for UGC deals and brand collaborations and get inbound invites and offers to create content for brands. You get my portfolio site template for canva (free to launch your live website!), media kit template, over 10 email pitch templates, and an invoice template inside. Everything you need to start working as a creator now!
By following these steps and leveraging the CCC method, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful UGC creator:
It’s amazing what you can do if you decide to start NOW, start this week. Grab some products in your home and start filming a few videos you can have for your portfolio. Make sure you download my FREE guide here for the content to make for your portfolio. Then grab the collaboration kit for all the templates you’ll need! And if you’re really serious to take the next leap, join the waitlist for the Collaboration Guide course to join the other creators learning directly from me how to creating a 6-figure content creation business!
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Traveler, Content Creator, Influencer, and UI/UX Designer empowering you to explore the world and make money while doing it.