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    UGC creator’s guide: Everything you need to know to get started with UGC creation

    UGC creator’s guide: Everything you need to know to get started with UGC creation

    The beauty of the digital world is that trends appear out of nowhere and become huge in a matter of seconds. One blink, and there it is — another big...

    The beauty of the digital world is that trends appear out of nowhere and become huge in a matter of seconds. One blink, and there it is — another big thing.

    This season’s big thing is UGC creation

    In recent weeks, TikTok and Instagram user feeds have been flooded with all kinds of content accompanied by a neat hashtag #UGC or #UGCCreator. 

    As of now, this hashtag has over 397M views on TikTok and over 81.5K posts on Instagram — and the numbers continue to grow by the minute!

    So, if you want to keep up with the latest digital marketing trends, read this article. We’re going to explore what is UGC content, what is UGC marketing, and how you can become a UGC creator. 

    ⚠️ Spoiler alert: With VistaCreate, it’s easy!

    What is a UGC Creator?

    First, let’s answer a different question: What does UGC stand for in UGC creator? User Generated Content. 

    So, a UGC creator is a creator that produces UGC-style content for brands

    The reason why we use the term “UGC-style content” is because, traditionally, UGC is organic — generated by real users and used by brands for free. Content generated by UGC creators, on the other hand, is paid for. 

    What is the difference between a UGC creator and a social media influencer?

    While both UGC creators and social media influencers get paid by brands to produce promotional content, there’s a big difference between the two. 

    The main asset for social media influencers is their follower base. Their competitive advantage is that not only do their publications get a lot of eyes on them, but they impact those that see and like them. 

    After all, there’s a reason social media influencers are called ‘influencers’ and not just ‘B-list celebrities’ — they set trends, creating demand for certain products they show in their pics and videos. 

    So, influencers get paid to both create content and distribute it across their social channels. Their name is part of the package they offer to brands. 

    UGC creators, on the other hand, aren’t expected to distribute the content they create, so they don’t have to have a lot of followers to start making money. 

    In fact, anyone with a decent smartphone or a camera and a set of certain skills can become a UGC creator. Here are some of the key skills needed to get started with UGC creation:

    • Video and photo creation and editing skills
    • Basic copywriting skills to write captions and video scripts
    • Business communication skills to communicate with potential clients
    • Research skills to fact-check and know what’s trending at the moment
    • Negotiation skills
    • Basic knowledge of key marketing principles

    The good news is that if you’ve been following the VistaCreate blog, you know these core skills are covered in our articles. If you don’t, check out our marketing rubric.

    How to become a UGC creator: A step-by-step guide

    Although every UGC creator’s journey is different, the most successful of them have one thing in common: they approached the job with the utmost responsibility. Instead of diving head-first into the UGC creation process, they do some groundwork first.

    Below, we’ve broken down the process of getting started with UGC creation into five steps. Read on to find out everything you need to do to land your first brand deal.

    Step 1: Identify the brands you want to work with

    Before you start your UGC creator journey, you need to decide who you’re going to create content for. Start with the big picture — outline an industry or two that you’re interested in. Then, narrow it down to specific niches or even brands you’d like to collaborate with. 

    Some things to consider when selecting your preferred brands include…

    • Do you want to work with large businesses or small businesses?
    • What kind of pay do you expect to get for your content?
    • What are your favorite brands? 
    • Do these brands use UGC in their marketing activities?
    • What is their target audience? What is their brand’s tone of voice? 
    • What brands would you never want to work with?
    • What are your hobbies?

    The last question is particularly important, as your hobbies can help you identify the industries you’re genuinely interested in. Here are some of the hobby-related industries for you to consider:

    • Cooking — Do you have special dietary requirements? Are you interested in testing kitchen appliances? Can you review recipes and cookbooks? 
    • Skincare — Do you have a skin condition or skin problems? Do you have an elaborate skincare routine? Do you know a lot about different types of skincare products?
    • Fashion — Are you a sucker for hauls and try-ons? Love accessorizing and styling outfits?
    • Books — Do you have a soft spot for book design? Are you a bookworm who can easily cram thousands of pages in a few weeks? Do you want to share your reviews online?
    • Fitness/Wellness — From superfoods to fitness machines, it’s a vast industry that anyone can find a spot in.

    Step 2: Set up a UGC creator account on social media (optional)

    This step is optional; you can definitely embrace all your UGC creator endeavors using the social media accounts you already have. However, there are several benefits associated with setting up a new UGC creator-specific account…

    • Work-life balance is important regardless of what your job is — you don’t want your personal social media business to mix with work-related tasks.
    • Creating a separate account allows you to better optimize your page for search: you can add all the necessary hashtags and keywords to get discovered.
    • It makes it easier to network — your For You page on TikTok or Explore Page on Instagram will be filled with tips and tricks from other UGC creators. 
    UGC creator’s guide: Everything you need to know to get started with UGC creation

    Here’s how you can optimize your profile:

    • Add “UGC” to your username
    • Add “UGC Creator” and specific niches you work in, e.g. Fashion, Fitness, or Skincare to your display name
    • Add your location if necessary 
    • Add keywords like “UGC”, “Content creator”, and “{{Niche}} UGC creator” in your bio
    • Add a link to your portfolio
    • Add your best Instagram Stories to Instagram Story Highlights or pin your best TikTok videos
    • Add a button to contact you, either by phone or email

    Moreover, a separate account can double as your UGC creator portfolio as you can publish your photos and videos to practice and get feedback from other users. 

    🔥 VistaCreate Pro Tip: When publishing UGC content on your social media page, make sure you add plenty of relevant keywords and hashtags in the caption. Beware, though! Adding “#UGC” and “#UGCCreator” in the caption will only expose your content to other UGC creators. If you want to reach potential clients, use their niche-specific hashtags.

    Learn how to set up a business account on different social media platforms and get access to all the required tools and insights in our guide:

    ➡️ Instagram marketing for small businesses: The essential guide
    ➡️ TikTok Marketing for small businesses
    ➡️ Facebook marketing for small businesses: The ultimate guide

    Step 3: Create content

    Being a UGC creator is impossible without… Creating content. 

    So, once you know the brands you want to work with and have set up your work accounts on social media, it’s time to build your portfolio. 

    Here are some content ideas to keep your UGC portfolio diverse…

    • Unboxing — the process of removing the product from its packaging and examining its features
    • Review/testimonial — opinions on the product, its particular features, and the effectiveness thereof. 
    • Try-on (fashion) — the process of trying on the items, styling them with other products.
    • How-to — an explanation of how to use the product, different life-hacks. 
    • Product in action 
    • Aesthetic videos

    The most popular content type among UGC creators is video content, TikTok videos, and Instagram Reels, in particular. 

    However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just those. In fact, you can acquire a competitive advantage by producing other types of content, too. 

    ☝️ For example, you can diversify your UGC portfolio with photos, step-by-step photo instructions, before and after photos, audio reviews, YouTube Shorts, etc.

    To have a better understanding of what type of UGC performs well in your niche, analyze the ads brands post on TikTok and Instagram. For example, you can use the TikTok Creative Center insights:

    UGC creator’s guide: Everything you need to know to get started with UGC creation

    Once you have an idea of what kind of content you want to create, there’s another problem — where can you get products as a beginner UGC creator? 

    It’s a vicious circle: to get products from brands, you need a portfolio; to build a portfolio, you need products. 

    Turns out, breaking free from it is easier than it looks. Just go around your house and pick up different products you use and like. Make them the stars of your UGC portfolio. 

    To produce high quality content, you need:

    • Good devices
    • The right skills

    ➡️ Learn more about product photography for social media, different cameras, and lighting in our article.

    As for the tools… You shouldn’t feel like you need a fancy setup to become a UGC creator. A smartphone with a decent camera is enough. However, if you want to produce outstanding content, there are several devices that can up your game:

    • Ring light
    • Backdrops
    • Props
    • Collar mic or Bluetooth mic

    Shooting great content isn’t enough, though! You also need to edit it:

    Here are some resources to help you:

    ➡️ The best TikTok video editing apps
    ➡️ How to use VistaCreate: A guide to creating designs in minutes

    Step 4: Put together a portfolio

    Once you’re done creating your first bits of UGC content, you need to create a UGC creator portfolio that you’ll then share with potential clients to land brand deals. 

    Wondering what to include in your UGC creator portfolio? Here’s a checklist so that you don’t forget about anything important:

    • Your name
    • Your photo
    • Your logo
    • Links to your socials (optional)
    • Your contact information
    • A short introduction: A couple of sentences about who you are, where you’re located, etc.
    • Information about the services you provide
    • Benefits of UGC
    • Examples of work
    • Results
    • Rates

    Now, let’s look at each of these in more detail…

    Why should you include a photo of yourself in your UGC creator portfolio? A lot of UGC creation jobs require you to show your face when showcasing the brand’s product. When selecting content creators to work with, brands want to see what you look like and whether you fit their aesthetic. 

    ☝️ For example, if you’re reaching out to a brand that specializes in curly hair products, they’d be screening the portfolios to find creators with curly hair. 

    A lot of beginners think that including your logo is optional when you have already included a picture of yourself. However, that’s not the case. 

    Designing a logo (no matter how simple) and using it in your UGC creator portfolio is an indicator of your professionalism and dedication to the job you’re doing. 

    You’d be surprised how many UGC creators skip this step simply because they don’t want to waste time on it. Little do they know, with tools like VistaCreate, all it takes to create a professional-looking logo is a few clicks.

    Including links to your socials, on the other hand, is optional. You should only do this if you share your work on social media like TikTok or Instagram and get a fair share of social media traction. If you have a modest social media following and your engagement rate is pretty low, we’d recommend growing your account first. 

    Learn how to do that in our articles:

    ➡️ How to get more followers on TikTok
    ➡️ Instagram marketing for small businesses: The essential guide

    But you still want to keep in touch with your potential customers. So, ensure you include all the different ways they can reach you — your email address, your phone number, the number affiliated with your WhatsApp account, your Telegram handle, etc. 

    After that, include a short bio: talk about who you are, your skills, your experiences, your location, and whether or not you can travel to create content, etc. Essentially, use this space to show off your expertise before you get into showcasing your work. 

    Don’t forget to dedicate a page of your portfolio to describing the services you provide. List everything you can do. For example, voiceovers, product photography, TikTok videos, Instagram Reels, YouTube shorts, etc. 

    Before you transition to examples of the content you’ve created, ensure to create a slide or two outlining the benefits of UGC. While most brands understand the value UGC brings, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

    🔥 VistaCreate Pro Tip: Include stats, infographics, and other data — it adds credibility and, again, shows that you’re good at researching.  

    Make sure you focus on the UGC benefits relevant to the industry your potential clients work in. If you only work within a specific niche or industry, it should be easy to do. However, if you’re open to brand deals from any industry, it’s best to not go into detail and provide generic information. 

    And now… The most important part of your UGC creator portfolio, examples of your work. Here are some of the best practices to make the most out of it:

    • Ensure you select crème de la crème content examples to showcase in your portfolio
    • Don’t limit yourself to just one content type — showcase your versatility
    • Make sure you include at least one video with a voiceover and one video featuring your face if you’re open to this kind of work
    • Don’t mix different types of content on one page — group TikTok Videos with TikTok Videos, Instagram Reels with Instagram Reels, and photos with photos
    • Add explanations to your content: outline the task, the approach, and the tools you used to create the content; add the creation date
    • When adding several videos to the page, disable autoplay

    To prove that your content helps brands leverage the benefits of UGC, include at least some stats that show your photo or video performed well

    Finally, add your rates.

    Of course, brands expect UGC creators to have outstanding taste when it comes to design. So, you need to make sure your portfolio follows the latest graphic design trends and looks neat and professional, regardless of whether you store it in Google Slides, a PDF file, or a website.

    Check out free VistaCreate templates that can help you design your UGC creator portfolio:

    In a way, a UGC creator’s portfolio will be similar to that of a graphic designer’s. We have a marvelous article on creating a design portfolio with plenty of useful tips, tricks, and examples — you can use it for inspiration!

    Step 5: Look for clients 

    There are lots of different ways to find clients that would pay for your content. You can use freelance platforms, you can network with other UGC creators, or you can do cold outreach. Let’s look at each of these methods in more detail. 

    Platforms for UGC creators

    We’ve already established that UGC creators are essentially freelance content creators with a fancy name. So, why not try to look for jobs on dedicated platforms? 

    Here are some of the options you have…

    UGC creator’s guide: Everything you need to know to get started with UGC creation
    • Upwork. Browse through Upwork to find UGC creator jobs and apply to them, or create a professional account and offer your UGC services.
    • Billo. This platform is only available for the US.
    • Insense. Join the platform via an app and browse around for the UGC opportunities you like.
    • Brands Meet Creators. This platform regularly mails out UGC opportunities via email.

    We also recommend checking out TikTok Creator Marketplace.

    Networking

    Don’t alienate yourself from fellow UGC creators. While they are, indeed, your competitors, they are also your community. Making friends with them can help you land a few brand deals. 

    Often, bigger UGC creators decline opportunities that pay less than they’re used to or because they don’t work with specific types of products. Then, they can “pass it on” to their colleagues. 

    Cold outreach

    Finally, you can take everything into your own hands and reach out to brands directly. 

    Go back to the list of brands you want to work with, and start messaging them. 

    Ideally, you should communicate with brands via email, but in some cases (when you can’t find their contact information, or they’re a small business or an Amazon seller), you can just DM your pitch. 

    Depending on the type of the brand you want to work with, you might adjust your pitch accordingly. Here are some of the things to consider:

    • Is it a small business or a large business? — Small business owners are usually in charge of their social media marketing, and you can talk with them directly; large companies have employees that screen collaboration requests.  
    • Do they post UGC on their social media? — If not, you need to pay attention to explaining the benefits of UGC in your initial pitch.
    • Does the UGC content perform well on their social media pages? 

    Regardless of the platform you use to outreach or the brand you’re pitching to, you need to personalize your message. 

    🔥 VistaCreate Pro Tip: If you want to include your portfolio and links to socials in your initial pitch, but don’t want the email to go straight to the spam folder, create a custom email signature and place all the links there. 


    As the world is getting progressively more digital by the day, more and more online jobs like UGC creator will emerge in the near future. 

    Make sure you stay atop of the latest marketing trends to predict what’s going to go viral next and to stand out. 

    But for now… Make the most of UGC. With VistaCreate and its numerous free creative assets, it’s easy to always stay on top of trends and create truly standout content.

    Valerie Kakovkina

    Content marketing manager at VistaCreate. Valerie loves all things marketing, with her favourite areas being email marketing and social media. When out of the office, Valerie loves travelling, going to parties, and helping her friends with their art projects (oh to be surrounded by artists).

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