Social Media & Blogging

What is a User-Generated Content Creator: How to Get Paid for Content with a Small Following

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If getting paid for content creation without the headache of growing an influencer-sized audience is your goal, “user-generated content creator” is the title and position you’ve been looking for.

Take a scroll through the content creation side of TikTok, and you’ll come across the term within 3 videos.

That’s because UGC is a new marketing tactic changing how brands leverage content.

I’m breaking down everything you need to know about becoming a user-generated content creator, how it’s different from traditional brand collaborations, and how you can get started right away…

Even if your following is barely in the 100s.

Christina | What is a user-generated content creator

How to Become a User-Generated Content Creator (and Get Paid Even with a Small Following)

So what is a user-generated content creator, why are they the new “it” creators, and how do you become one?

Let’s start by defining what UGC, or user-generated content is.

What is UGC, aka User-Generated Content?

UGC is content created organically by a brand’s followers, consumers, and customers – which is then shared directly by the brand on its channels.

Brands have come to value UGC over the years because:

  1. The content is created by real fans of a brand
  2. And according to a 2021 study, consumers claim that UGC impacts their purchasing decisions by up to 8.7x more than influencer marketing

Brands hire user-generated content creators to create content for them. That content is then distributed directly to the brand’s audience. And the user-generated content works to generate sales by showcasing real people using and loving the brand’s products.

user-generated content creators vs influencers

User-Generated Content Creator vs. Influencers

You might be wondering, “well, what’s the difference between a user-generated content creator and an influencer?”

An influencer has a community and following of their own. When brands work with influencers for a campaign, they pay them for a spot in front of their followers – whether that’s through Instagram, their blog, email list, or other channels.

UGC creators, on the other hand, is a freelance content creator a brand hires to create content for their own marketing efforts. The user-generated content creator has no obligation to build a following of their own and post the UGC content to their channels.

All they need to do is create content and give access to the brand to use it in their marketing.

Why Now’s the Best Time to Become a UGC Creator

UGC content is an entirely different form of content from influencer-generated content through brand collabs.

Aside from showcasing real people enjoying the brand’s products, UGC content also serves the brand in numerous ways.

For starters, it helps the brand build a content bank filled with photos and videos showcasing the product being used.

UGC content is also incredibly effective at building trust. As influencer marketing continues to grow and shift, we’re seeing a pull towards micro and nano influencers who have smaller, but more trusting audiences.

(I mean… remember lashgate 2023? That’s an example of a macro influencer completely abusing the trust of their audience. Yikes.)

And because UGC content has a word-of-mouth feel, it’s the perfect type of content to showcase an unfiltered, overly promotional view of the product.

Lastly, UGC content is more cost-effective for brands than influencer marketing campaigns. 

Although influencer marketing campaigns are still an important tactic and growth strategy for brands… the bill can run a brand pretty high, depending on the influencers they’re hiring.

UGC creators are freelance content creators who get paid for their deliverables. This means brands can keep working with UGC creators consistently to build a content bank across all their channels and grow their audience.

How to become a user-generated content creator

How to Become a User-Generated Content Creator

I’ve said it a hundred times, and I’ll keep saying it.

Whether you have 100k+ followers or 0, content creation offers so many career and money-making opportunities.

With the rise of UGC creators – this statement is more true than ever.

As a UGC creator, you’ll get paid for creating content, even if you have a tiny follower count. (Or a private account, even.)

And if you’re one of those creatives who has been sitting on the sidelines thinking, “I would love to get paid to create content, but I hate showing my face on camera…”

This is your time to shine.

Here are 3 things you need to do to get started:

Get started as a user-generated content creator
Social Squares

#1 – Create Content

Sounds simple, but get some practice with the products you already love.

Experiment with different mediums, whether that’s photography, or short-form videos such as Reels, TikToks, and stories.

Practice on your own account and get comfortable with your own content creation style. Because…

#2 – Build a Portfolio

The next step is to compile examples of your work into a portfolio.

This is essential because you’ll be sending out your portfolio to brands who are interested in hiring you as a UGC creator. 

Remember, being a freelance or UGC creator is a creative job. This means you’ll want to put your best foot forward with your portfolio by designing it on a site like Canva.

You’ll also want to include a blurb about yourself, a short list of why UGC content is important for brands, in addition to samples of your work.

#3 – Make a List of Brands You’d Like to Work with and Craft Your Pitch

Once you have your portfolio together, it’s time to start pitching your UGC services to brands you’d like to work with.

Tip: Spend some time looking through their social media profiles. Take note if the brand has worked with UGC creators in the past.

As for crafting an attention-grabbing pitch? Here’s a podcast episode that’ll help you do just that.

Getting Paid as a UGC Creator Today

Before I wrap this post up, let’s talk about getting paid. 

There isn’t an exact blueprint to follow. Since this is freelance work, what you choose to charge is ultimately up to you.

A safe starting point is to think about how many hours it takes you to create a deliverable.

You can also search on Fiverr or UpWork to see what other UGC Creators are charging.

With time and experience, you can expect your rates to increase. But the best part is content creation is more in-demand than ever. So don’t let a small audience or a fear of showing up on camera get in your way.

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