How to become a content creator on TikTok: A Complete Guide

TikTok is the HOTTEST social media platform right now–and it’s especially popular with content creators.

If you’re on #ugctok, you’re probably well aware of all the fantastic things you can learn about UGC and building a portfolio on TikTok. 

But have you ever considered becoming a bona fide TikTok content creator?

If your secret dream is to be a TikTok content creator, then look no further; I present to you the complete guide on how to become a content creator on TikTok.

This guide has it all–from the basics of setting up your account to growing your audience. I’ve left off video creation skills because, uh–you’re a UGC creator. But everything else is here, and I’m excited to share it with you.

Let’s dive in! 🏊

Why should you become a TikTok creator?

Yep, I’m looking at you. 🧐 Why should an awesome UGC creator also become a Tiktok creator? 

Why add TikTok?

Let’s get right to it: Why should you become a TikTok creator and potentially stress yourself out further?

I’m not recommending that you stretch yourself too thin. But would it be that stressful? I mean, you’re already creating dope videos as a content creator–why not go a step further and learn the ropes of TikTok, too?

Look at it this way: If you grow your TikTok presence, you’ll increase your earning capacity. 

If you create UGC, you can have a thriving and profitable business. But if you can create UGC and have an engaged audience on TikTok to promote to, you can earn EVEN MORE. 

If your goal is to become a full-time UGC creator, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to get there if you also have a following on TikTok, even if it’s a small one. 

Plus, if you make this work, you can slowly expand to Instagram. Before you know it, you can have a full-time job—and it’ll be well-paid, too! 

Are you too old for TikTok?

If you think you’re too old for TikTok (more on TikTok demographics below), you’re wrong.

There IS indeed a younger crowd there, but that doesn’t mean older creators can’t make it. Your age might be an advantage: instead of being just another young creator competing with thousands of others, you have less competition and can leverage your age to your advantage. 

For example, remember this sweet lady? She went viral as a cooking sensation in TikTok, even though she was older than their typical demographic. Audiences of all ages loved her delicious recipes and joyful spirit. 

Understanding TikTok

Of course, before you can grow a following on TikTok, you’ll need to understand how it works.

An overview of how TikTok (and its algorithm) works

According to TikTok itself, the central point of the TikTok app is the For You page–it’s the endless wall of videos you see when you first open the app. 

Every single TikTok user has a different “For You” page based on their interests, videos they like and share, comments they make, accounts they follow, search terms they use, sounds and hashtags they seem to enjoy, and–most importantly–what they choose to watch, watch again, and skip.

By the way–if you’re ever interested in WHY TikTok is serving you a particular video in your For You page, go to the share panel and tap the question mark that says, “Why this video?” and TikTok will give you a short explanation.

Your For You page is created through what TikTok calls its “recommendation system.” It’s a way to deliver a personalized experience for every single user.

How this works in practical terms is that you have many different “sides” of TikTok, which you’ll hear people talking about. These “sides” are based on what the app has determined you like–puppies or travel, for example. They’ll also serve you the videos that others with similar interests liked.

You’ll also see different takes on trending sounds and challenges cycling through your For You page. This is part of the beauty of TikTok: it encourages people to offer their unique take. But it’s also a direct outgrowth of how the algorithm works. If you engage with one video that uses a particular sound, is part of a challenge, or uses a specific hashtag, they’ll serve you another. And another. And another and another and another, until you finally say, “ENOUGH!” and scroll frantically past them.

That’s why you may see a viral TikTok video or trend, but none of your friends have seen it. This doesn’t happen often on other platforms, so it’s an interesting quirk of TikTok.

I’ll talk about how this applies to you as a creator in a second–but keep these things in mind as you consider how you’ll build your own TikTok strategy. 😉

Getting started with TikTok

One thing you’ll want to do is watch a lot of TikTok–but you’re probably doing that already, huh? 

Assuming that’s the case, there’s one more thing you need to do before you can start posting content–set up your profile. As it turns out, there’s a right way to do this if you’re hoping to land brand deals!

Set up an attractive profile

Okay, first things first–choose an easy-to-remember username and a cool profile picture. Ensure you’re using a creator profile and not a personal one–this will give you access to a LOT more features.

I know–sounds basic, right? And you’ve come to expect better of me than to give you basic advice.

But let’s be real–there are tons of aspiring TikTok creators who don’t even bother with either of the things I just mentioned. 

Then, write a bio where you briefly describe the type of content you create and what you’re passionate about. Get straight to the point. If a brand lands on your profile, they must know within 5 seconds if you fit in their niche. 

Link to your other social media profiles, portfolio, and rates–those last two are SUPER important. Both can be made with Canva, which we mentioned in our last article.

Creating engaging content for TikTok

Okay, now we’re getting to the fun part! Here’s how to start creating content for TikTok–minus the basic video creation process, of course, because I’m assuming you already know how to do that as a UGC creator. 😄

The basics

Aspect Ratio: 9:16–but keep in mind that TikTok will crop your videos to fit on different-sized phone screens, so your edges might not always show.

Editing options: You may want to film and edit your videos before uploading them to TikTok, but once they are uploaded, you’ll have a few editing options–including the ability to use native effects like green screen, perform basic image correction, add voice and image filters, and text. 

Video Length: According to Neil Patel, TikTok videos should be 18-31 seconds long if their primary purpose is to entertain. If you’re trying to educate people about something, they can be a little longer: between 42 and 54 seconds. 

That’s not a lot of time, but it makes sense. Way back in 2015, researchers at Microsoft found that people generally lose concentration after 8 seconds–shorter than the attention span of a goldfish.

Unfortunately, things have NOT turned around since. As a species, we are finding it increasingly harder to focus. In 2023 alone, ADHD diagnoses rose so much that there was an Adderall shortage in the US, and therapists were flooded with people who didn’t have ADHD–but thought they might. (Source

The point is that people, especially those on TikTok, have short attention spans. So be entertaining and keep your videos short. 

Content inspiration from across TikTok

There are SO MANY popular types of content on TikTok–and the app is your oyster! Be sure to stay true to your topic and niche, but if you can tap into trends and pull ideas and content formats from other places in the app, you’ll probably hit on something fun and original.

Popular types of content on TikTok from which you can draw inspiration include dances, lip-syncs, tutorials, challenges, AMSR, day in the life, collabs, skits, duets, stitches, and skits.

Let’s look at some examples of each of these types of content:

Dances: The Veggie Dance 🕺

Lip-syncs: Hamilton Lip-Syncing 👄

This is an example of a challenge AND a lip-sync–as a lot of lip-syncs are. You’ll also see people lipsyncing to songs and superimposing words related to their niche over them. 

Tutorials: How To Make TikTok Videos 📕

Tutorials are great because people will watch them longer than they’ll watch entertaining videos–and there’s often a very natural way to plug brands if you have a sponsorship! 

Challenges: I Forgot How We Danced 💃

This TikTok user hopped on the trend of having your parents dance to this song like it’s the 80s–with nearly 3 million views! 

ASMR: Pack My Breakfast 🥯

ASMR videos (like this one!) deliver pleasing sounds and visuals to viewers. They’re a very ✨relaxing✨ form of TikTok content, and as you can see, brands love them, too.

Day in the life: Day-to-Day Life 🗓️

Consider taking people along for a day in your life–chances are, people will be fascinated by what you do! 

Collabs: WoW? 🤝

I have no words. This one is SO CLEVER, and it illustrates an important point. If you can figure out how to incorporate elements of the popular content your collab partner is famous for, the video will be even more impressive. 

Stitches: Billie Eilish 👀

This one’s a classic–but it shows the power of stitches. With just a couple of sobs, Billie Eilish explained EXACTLY how the original video made her feel–and gave the original poster a lot of exposure! 

Skits: When You Forgot Someone’s Name 🤷‍♀️

POV skits are a super popular format- and you can showcase scenarios related to your niche.

Leveraging trends and challenges

Of course, you’ll want to stay inspired on TikTok all the time–and that means staying up-to-date with trends, watching great content, and keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening on TikTok and in your niche. 

Remember what I said earlier about how the algorithm works? That if someone likes one sound, challenge, etc, that the algorithm will serve them up more videos like it?

Leveraging trends and challenges is how you get your videos in front of more viewers. 

This is where the magic is–finding where people’s current interests, TikTok trends, and your niche intersect.

How do you do that? Well, some people will tell you just to scroll through your For You page to find trending audios and formats, then go from there. While there’s nothing wrong with watching TikToks to learn about TikTok, it’s not super efficient. 

Here are a couple of faster ways to find unique content ideas and stay inspired:

  • Use TikTok’s Symphony Assistant. Their AI-powered assistant for creators can show you what’s trending, give you ideas, help you write scripts, and more! Plus, it’s free to use–just click the Symphony logo in the top right corner of the TikTok Creative Center website!
  • Search for trending sounds using the term “Trend alert” in your TikTok search bar and filter to see which ones have popular videos at the top from the past few days. (I learned this tip from Carys Eccleshall).

How to grow an audience

Of course, making engaging content is only part of growing on TikTok. To grow your audience, you’ll have to find ways to get in front of other people consistently. Leveraging challenges and trends, like we talked about in the last section, can definitely help. In this section, we’ll discuss other ways to get yourself out there and grow your audience.

Engagement strategies

There are three main ways you’ll interact with your audience and build a loyal following:

  • Duets. TikTok duets allow users to collaborate with other users on the app without having to be in the same space. You can react to other creators’ videos, and people can respond to yours.

    The GREAT thing about them is that they can help you leverage the popularity of another video to make your profile more visible. But, they don’t have to be just a tool for expanding your reach–they can also be a way for people to react to your videos and for you to build community around your content.

    In your profile settings, you can select who can duet with your videos–either everyone or followers. In most cases, you’ll probably want to pick “everyone.” Still, if you’re interested in trying duets as a community and interaction-building strategy, it might make sense to limit it just to your followers.
  • Live Videos. Live videos allow you to talk and interact with your viewers in real time–just like lives on any other platform.

    TikTok also recommends that if you plan to grow your account using Lives, go live consistently at the same times every week and go out of your way to recognize and reward your fans’ loyalty. They also suggest having a plan and program or starting one of their PK challenges–more on that in the next section!
  • Comments. This one’s basic, but it’s worth mentioning–responding to comments goes a LONG WAY toward building engagement and follower loyalty. People want to know that you care about them, and interaction is one way to do that.

Collaborating with other creators

There are SO MANY benefits to collaborating with other creators. It can increase views, brand awareness, and engagement for both you and your collaborator–and it’s just a great way to know you’re not alone in this wild content creation life! 

Here are just some of the ways you can collaborate with other creators:

  • Traditional collaborations–where you film content together in the same space.
  • PK challenges–where you play a game together LIVE, and your viewers determine who wins.
  • Duets–while not *usually* a real collab, you can sometimes plot together to post a video for other creators to respond to on their accounts.
  • Takeovers–where you post content for each other for a day or a couple of hours. 
  • Voiceovers–where you send each other edited videos, and the other person creates a humorous voiceover (you’ll see this more often with people who are close in real life)

If you’d like to start collaborating with other Tiktokers, here are some tips for finding them and reaching out:

  1. First, look for other TikTok creators you might want to collaborate with. This doesn’t have to be complicated–you probably come across 1-5 creators you would enjoy working with daily. If this isn’t the case, do some targeted searches for hashtags related to your niche and find people talking about things that are related to things you’re talking about. I wouldn’t recommend contacting direct competitors immediately unless you are an entertainment account–but you do you! You’ll know what your audience wants to see.
  2. Second, FOLLOW THEM. This might seem a little sleazy, but I promise it’s purely practical–unless you follow each other, you won’t be able to message them directly. Hit that follow button, so you’re at least doing your part.
  3. Engage with their content. Comment on their posts, duet, stitch–do whatever you can to show your love for their content and get their attention.
  4. Stalk them a little. Okay, don’t SERIOUSLY stalk them, but if you’re serious about collaborating, find their contact info online (or their Instagram handle), reach out, and shoot your shot. Just a “Hey! I’m a TikTok-er too. I love your content, and I wondered if you’d like to meet for a quick chat. I’m trying to get to know more creators in my space.” will do the trick. They may not be open to collaborating with someone they don’t know, so try to meet before presenting your collab idea.
  5. Follow up. Other TikTok creators are busy, too, so follow up once a week. You may not hear back–that’s okay. Just keep following up, and you may eventually get a response. 

Of course, you don’t have to limit your efforts to cold outreach. You can also talk about people you’d like to collaborate with in your content from time to time. You never know; someone may know someone who can help you get in touch, or fans might pressure them to respond! 

How to monetize an audience on TikTok

And now, we’ve almost reached the goal–monetizing your TikTok empire… I mean, account! Here are some great options to help you bring home that bacon sooner rather than later:

TikTok Creator Fund

If you have at least 10,000 followers and 10,000 views in the last 30 days, you can apply to join the TikTok Creator Fund, a program that pays you based on the organic performance of your videos. 

If you’re accepted into the fund, you share part of a pot of money from TikTok with all the other creators. When TikTok pays out, you get a percentage of that pot based on how your videos performed.

The consensus online is that–unless you’re one of the very top creators on TikTok–this isn’t going to increase your bottom line by very much. But it’s still a nice perk–right?

Here’s how you apply: 

If you meet the qualifications, log into your account and find your account settings. Once there, select “Creator tools” and “Creator Next.” After that, you should be able to see the words “Creator Fund,” and you can apply to join.

Brand partnerships and sponsorships

Unsurprisingly, this is where the real money is. Just like with UGC, you’ll want to stay authentic by only promoting products that you love–and don’t go ballistic and start promoting three different, competing brands in the same week. 

Stick to what you’re passionate about, and create content for businesses in your niche. Building a TikTok following isn’t about getting rich quickly–it’s about setting yourself up to make money for the rest of your life.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you just have to sit around and wait for the right brands to come to you! Nope, you can check out influencer platforms and apply to work with brands–consider starting with gifted campaigns to get some low-pressure experience under your belt. And you can always do brand outreach like you would for UGC, except pitching yourself as a TikTok influencer, too! 

Closing thoughts

I get it. You’ve just read a few thousand words, and this sounds COMPLICATED and HARD. 

I won’t lie to you: there is a learning curve when you start trying to figure out how to become a content creator on TikTok. 

But let me encourage you: You don’t have to be an immediate success.

Your first videos don’t have to be masterpieces. 

Start small: Craft a profile using my suggestions in this article, and start posting every week. You can even repost some of the UGC you’re creating for brands.

It’s essential to START and be consistent as you go. Even with your UGC experience, you probably won’t nail it the first time–but if you keep trying and learning, you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make in six months or a year. You’ll be able to monetize it, no problem.

If you’ve already started your TikTok journey (or if you’re coming back to this article after getting inspired), share your TikTok handle below! I’d love to look over your profile and give you some personalized feedback!  

Further reading

Picture of Kirk Axley
Kirk Axley
Max Axley is the founder of The UGC Club. With nearly 10 years of digital marketing experience he set out to create a community that helped UGC creators learn the ropes (without having to spend a penny).

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