Are you looking into becoming a UGC creator? Or are you already one, but wish to land more projects?
We’ve created the perfect guide for you!
With over two years of experience working with 150 brands and recruiting over 2,000 creators, we’re happy to share all our insider knowledge to help you join the UGC creator community.
What Is UGC?
The acronym UGC stands for User Generated Content.
From a marketing perspective, UGC is the new type of advertising content on social media, and also the most effective. Ads based on user-generated content receive 4 times higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click compared to average ads.
For creators, UGC means many things:
- extra income,
- developing a portfolio in content creation,
- working on skills like time management and creativity,
- building relationships with agencies and brands,
- and more!
UGC can be both videos and photos. The most popular platforms to post UGC on these days are TikTok and Instagram, but other platforms include YouTube, Snapchat, etc.
Here are some examples of UGC content from projects we’ve worked on.
- “Beauty” niche with Vita Clean
- “App” niche with Personalloanpro.com
What Brands Need UGC?
As we mentioned above, UGC is the new gold in social media advertising. While it’s still a relatively new concept, every brand with an online presence needs UGC!
We have worked with over 150 brands in the last two years, and they cover very different fields including beauty and skincare, maternity clothes, food supplements, video games, and pet products.
This means that all niches are covered when it comes to UGC.
There is a space for you!
Who Can Be a UGC Creator?
Now that you know what UGC is and what brands need UGC (reminder: all of them!), let’s talk about what being a UGC creator entails.
This is the best part: everyone can be a UGC creator!
78% of TikTok users agree that you don't have to be famous or already have a base of followers to go viral on TikTok. If your content is interesting and engaging and finds its way to the right audience, it will explode!
There are some characteristics that individuals should have in order to become successful UGC creators. These include being:
- interested in creating content,
- genuine when reviewing a product,
- good at paying attention to details,
- able to explain things in a simple way,
- a good planner.
There are some extra characteristics that also give creators bonus points:
- knowing how social media platforms and algorithms work,
- being familiar with current social media trends,
- having some experience using editing tools on smartphones.
Does that seem like a lot? Don’t worry! All of these are perfectly learnable skills. In fact, these are things we talk about with our Facebook community creators. You can join the community to get all the latest information!
What Makes a Creator the Right UGC Creator for a Project?
There are several factors that will make a creator the right creator for a project.
1. Project niche
In a survey by SalesForce, 54% of individuals said they trust information (such as online reviews and recommendations) created by fellow users. In contrast, only 20% trust information presented by the brand itself.
This is why when brands commission UGC, they aren’t purchasing sales-y or flashy content: they are looking for authenticity.
What does this mean? UGC creators need to know what their strengths are when it comes to choosing a niche to work in.
For example, business owners can work on projects related to business management, just like Andy did in this campaign with Startup Tandem:
Skincare girlies will be able to review beauty products exactly the way the brands want, like Pamela did in this project with Pure’Am:
Creators can obviously work in several fields! Channon for example creates UGC content for skincare and hair care products, but she is also a dog mom and uses it as well!
@ugc_shop #dogs #dogmom #dogtok #collagensticks #grassfed #dogtreats #healthydogtreats #dogsoftiktok #dogsofttiktok ♬ GOOD VIBES - Ellen Once Again
2. Brand requirements
When working on a project, brands will set requirements to make sure they select the right creators to create UGC for them.
In order to maintain authenticity, these requirements are usually related to the brand’s audience. They can include:
- location (and/or accent),
If you match the brand’s requirements, you’re safe (and more than welcome) to apply!
3. Creator Professionalism
Brands need to set their campaigns running quickly with fresh content. Out of the pool of creators that match the brand requirements, individuals are often chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis! Reply to casting announcements as soon as you see them.
When it comes to UGC, punctuality is very important! If you want to develop a relationship with a brand and get chosen for future projects, make sure to submit your content by the deadline (or even earlier if you can).
Some more points to consider in order to be seen as a professional creator include:
- attention to details.
You must also be able to follow indications. Brands provide creators with briefs in which they explain what type of UGC they are looking for and sometimes what style they want it in. It’s important that the creator respects this brief.
For example, if a brand precises that they don’t want any music on the video, you shouldn’t add sound when editing the video.
What Guidelines Should You Follow When Creating UGC?
Brands want UGC because it is relatable. This doesn’t mean you don’t want to make yours look professional! (By professional, we mean that the content lives up to good standards, not content that requires professional equipment.)
Use natural lighting, especially when it comes to skincare brands. Content shot with artificial light just doesn’t look polished enough. It doesn’t put the product in evidence enough, creates harsh contrasts on your skin, etc.
Extra tip: golden hour (dawn or dusk) is the best time to shoot with natural light!
Make sure to have a clean background and clean nails. This is even more important if you do close-ups. Brands are very detail oriented and can be picky with these things.
The same goes with making sure that the products you feature are clean. Avoid fingerprints on surfaces!
Flip the photo or video to make sure the brand name or text on the product is readable in the final draft.
Don’t show or mention any competitors! The brand wants to be in full focus, and it certainly doesn't want to pay for content that will advertise its competitors.
Your Step-By-Step Guide to Create UGC Videos
Creating UGC videos involves more preparation and steps than creating UGC photos. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered for this too!
1. Planning the video
Once you’ve been casted for a project, you will receive some sort of guidelines from the brand. Those guidelines can include a variety of information, but usually they cover:
- project goal,
- product description,
- content ideas and inspiration,
- brand preferences and musts (e.g. catchphrases and don’ts).
Take notes as you read the brief, these will come in handy later.
Next, browse for some inspiration. The brand might send you examples of content they want you to use as a base, but often you might want to have a look on the web yourself. Here is where we recommend our creators do their research:
- the TikTok Creative Center,
- TikTok hashtags and communities related to your niche.
It’s also a good idea to decide what type of video you want to prepare (if the brand hasn’t already communicated what they want):
2. Writing the script
Once you have enough ideas and vocabulary words to create a video (this should roughly be five to ten bullet points, depending on how much content there is to cover), you’re ready to start writing the script!
Sometimes, brands provide you with the script, so you don’t even have to worry about this step.
But if you do, we’ve prepared a brief guide to help you:
When writing a script, make sure you include:
- a hook (you can read more about this in one of our previous posts),
- a CTA (users like to be told what to do!)
Your CTA should be related to the brand’s objective with the project. For example, if the brand’s objective is to sell a product, your CTA could be “See you on the brand’s website to buy their product!”
3. Filming your video
When it’s time to film your video, follow the general guidelines listed above! Use natural lighting, don’t feature competitors, etc.
We also recommend you shoot your clips on your camera app or by using the TikTok app. And unless the brand specifies otherwise, shoot vertical videos in 9:16 format.
When you’re filming, think about prioritizing view-through in your final result. If you feel like your video should be five seconds shorter to keep the audience’s attention, then remove unnecessary sentences!
4. Editing your video
When it comes to editing, we advise creators to use these apps:
- TikTok (add on-screen text, AI voice-over, etc.)
Remember that TikTok is 90% sound! This means that videos with sound (either original or from the TikTok sound library) help videos perform better. Unless the brand asks you not to, include some sort of sound in your UGC.
5. Exporting your video
If you have edited your video on TikTok, you might think you have an issue: when you download it in your camera roll, the watermark is still there!
Don’t worry! We have you covered for that too.
We have developed a tool to help you remove the TikTok watermark from your videos. You can find a tutorial here.
How to Find Work as a UGC Creator?
Now that you know all about creating UGC, you might want to put theory into practice.
There are several ways to find work as a UGC Creator. A few popular ones include:
- working with an agency (like us!) Marketing agencies work in your best interest and manage everything with the brand: brief, email threads, payments, etc. You just have to create the content!
- Pros: no struggle in getting the client, we do all the hard work!
- pitching to brands. Create a portfolio (you can use a website like Canva.com), find marketing contacts for brands you want to collaborate with, pitch them your services in an email, and wait for them to reply!
- Cons: You have to find the emails and pitch a lot of brands to get any result. (Not every creator is a good fit for every brand!)
- advertising your services on your social media. This would require you to have an important followers base (in order to be found) and constantly push out content.
- Cons: it takes a long time and a lot of expertise to build a social media platform with a following to attract possible deals!
What Is the Next Step?
If you want to become a UGC creator right now, we’re giving you an easy solution:
We make sure to match the right creator with the right brand, so everyone can thrive. You won’t have to deal with emails, payments, and tracking shipped products: we do all of that!
If you have already signed up to join our community, you can also visit our live opportunities page. We update it every time we have a new casting going on! Be the first to apply :)
You can also get access to our exclusive Facebook community, with early information about castings, insights on the most recent UGC trends, and support from our team!