How to land your first UGC brand deals with 0 experience

Okay, so you’re *thinking*– dreaming, really–about becoming a UGC creator. Maybe you’ve even tried pitching a few times, but landing UGC brand deals is challenging. Welcome to the UGC Club–we’ve all been there!

The good news? Getting UGC brand deals does get easier after a while. 

The bad news? It’s going to take a lot of work to get there.

I’m not trying to gatekeep or scare you here. There are PLENTY of brand deals to be had, and I think you should go out and get them. But I want to be honest with you–most aspiring UGC creators quit before they ever have a chance to succeed. 

I don’t want that to be you, so in this article, I’ll walk you through EXACTLY what you need to do to build your UGC career from the ground up. 

Think you have what it takes? Let’s find out.

What skills should you focus on to land deals as a beginning UGC creator?

I get it. If you’re new to UGC, knowing where to focus your attention can be challenging. Here are the top two skills you’ll need as a UGC creator–it’s best to start immediately! 

Improve your video creation skills

It’s obvious, I know, but few people actually take the time to work on their video creation skills. And ESPECIALLY, if you’re a beginner, this is crucial–after all, people won’t pay you to make content for them unless they see that you can make great videos. 

Here’s what to focus on first:

  • Speaking in front of the camera.

I cannot stress how important this is. Ideally, you want to eliminate awkward breaks and silences–look for flow. 

Again, this sounds obvious. But you’d be surprised how many creators avoid building this skill. You must practice it–it won’t come in just a few days. You’ll need months–but once you pick it up, it’ll make a massive difference in your ability to land deals.

Pro tip: If you want to improve your camera presence, grab one of your favorite products, take your camera, and film yourself talking about it. Keep it simple–create a short, honest review focusing on the benefits and any downsides you’ve seen with the product.

Then, watch it back. How is it? Can you do better? If you’re a beginner, the answer is probably yes. So note how you can improve, and try again with another product! Rinse and repeat.

You might find speaking in front of the camera nerve-wracking, especially at first. I get it–we’ve all been there. But you don’t want to be the creator who asks brands if you *really* need to show your face. You’re a professional. Be comfortable talking and showing your face on camera.

  • Proper filming techniques.

    Specifically, I’m talking about a few things: lighting, angles, and your surroundings.

    You’ll want to learn how to use lights and other tools to create high-quality videos properly. You’ll also need to know the best angles for filming and how to match your background to the subject of the video.

    Again, most of this just takes practice. With lighting and angles, play around with different options to find what works for you. Try testing indoor and outdoor spots. Watch your videos again, and try new things until you find what works.

Fixing your surroundings is even easier. Make sure you’re standing or sitting in the right place. You want the shot framed well, and you want the background to keep the focus on what you’re talking about. Oh, and make sure your dog isn’t barking in the background–you get the point.

Finally, if you’re filming on your smartphone camera, CLEAN IT first–it’s amazing how quickly those things get dirty, and having a clean lens will vastly improve your chances of capturing high-quality video.

  • Basic video editing.

    There’s a reason I added this one last–it’s not a MUST HAVE, but it’ll give you an edge when pitching to clients. And I’m not talking about anything complicated here–you just need to be able to add trendy music, captions, emojis, or filters to your videos–the kinds of things that brands sometimes want to make them more accessible or on-trend.

    Video editing is a fun skill to learn! You can play with CapCut or a similar software to get a feel for it–it’s not complicated. 

Improve your communication skills

Don’t worry–in this context, I’m saying: Make sure you are SUPER responsive to brands. If you’re communicating with them via email, check your email and respond when they reach out. If you’re talking with them on social media, don’t leave them on read.

I feel like I keep saying obvious stuff–but the truth is, most creators don’t even bother with this. 🤦

If a brand wants you to create videos, don’t have them wait three days for a response. Keep an eye out for messages and respond—ideally within 24 hours. Do what you can to accommodate any special requests they have (obviously, there are limits here, and you may have to set boundaries with particularly pushy brands, but if it’s something you can do, try to make it happen).

Of course, be sure to ask questions if you’re unsure about something–you’ll want to ensure you have the answers before you start filming!

The bottom line is that being authentic and comfortable in front of the camera and knowing how to film videos are the best things you can work on at this stage in your career. 

And I know you’re probably thinking, “You haven’t taught me about landing UGC brand deals! How am I supposed to do that?” But the truth is, landing deals is easy by comparison. 

I don’t want to set you up to fail, which is what you will do if you grab a brand’s attention, but send them example videos where you mumble in front of a camera. Do you think they’ll hire you if they don’t like your video? Not a chance.

So take some time to learn these skills–get serious about it, and invest in training yourself. If you do, landing deals will be much, much more manageable.

How do I land my first UGC deal if I have zero experience?

Okay, now that you know the skills you need to focus on as a beginner, let’s talk about how you land your first UGC brand deals! 

Create a UGC portfolio 🗂️

When you start a conversation with brands, they will often ask you for your UGC portfolio.

This can be tricky when you’re new. What do you do if you don’t have any UGC work experience yet?

Here’s a hack: Order 3-5 of your favorite products online and do an unboxing or review video for each. Pick products from smaller brands that need UGC content. After you complete the videos, you can send them to them for FREE. They might use them, they might not–but you’ve done a good thing for a brand you love, and you’ve beefed up your portfolio in the process.

How do you know if a brand needs UGC content? Check their social media pages–do you see influencers or content creators on their pages or in their ads? If so, they’re using and need UGC content–trust me.

Here’s how I would approach it if I were starting my UGC career today: I’d pick a product and brand, and since I paid for the product, I don’t need to ask them for permission to share the video I made in my portfolio. I’d review the product I bought and add it to my portfolio. If someone asks me if I worked with that specific brand, I can be honest–because if the video is good, that’s all that matters. 

Moral of the story: Don’t wait weeks or months for a brand to take a chance on you. Start building your portfolio NOW. It’s going to make getting those first UGC brand deals much, much easier.

Create a killer introduction video 🎞️

One of the best ways to connect with brands as a beginning UGC creator is by joining a UGC platform (more on that in a minute). Most platforms will ask you for an introduction video, which will play a huge role in whether or not they accept your application. 

So, your second task is to make a KILLER introduction video similar to these. You can do that by:

  • Keeping it between 30-45 seconds long.
  • Writing a mini script before filming. Include details like who you are, what you do in your everyday life, where you live, and what you’re passionate about.
  • Using your filming skills. When you start recording yourself sharing the script, make sure to have good lighting and surroundings and a good microphone so your audio is crisp and clear.

Sign up on multiple UGC platforms–they’re free 🆓

If you want to land UGC brand deals FAST, sign up for 3-5 UGC platforms to reach more brands. The best number for you will depend on what you can manage. Remember what we said earlier about responding to brands within 24 hours? That applies to UGC platforms, too. 

But the nice thing about UGC platforms for you, as a creator, is that they’re free! You’ll have to go through a vetting process (hence my advice on creating an intro video above), but once you’re in, you can pitch your service to companies actively looking to hire UGC creators for their campaigns.

For each platform, take your time to create a nice, polished account. Show your interests (i.e., the type of brands you’d like to work with!) and upload a portfolio and intro videos. If a brand is considering working with you, you want your profile to scream “YES! This is the PERFECT person for this UGC deal!”

Here are the top 5 UGC platforms I recommend to beginning UGC creators: 

  • Clip
  • Billo
  • Twirl
  • Trend
  • Upwork/Fiverr

Apply constantly because volume matters 📈

As you’re getting started, you’ll have to apply to a lot of jobs on different platforms to start getting some offers. 

Yeah. Sorry, there’s no secret shortcut to getting your first UGC brand deals. I wish there were. But when you’re new to the UGC space, it’s a numbers game: the more you apply, the more chances you have of getting accepted. 

So apply, apply, apply! You never know when you’ll land your first client.

The nice thing about getting UGC brand deals is that you WILL gain momentum over time. Be sure to ask your clients to leave a review for you and showcase those reviews on your UGC social media channels, too–brands are more likely to hire you if they see great reviews!

And–that’s it. Once you start landing UGC deals, you’ll need other things, like banking details or a PayPal setup… But those are minor. Once you get jobs, you’ll be able to figure out pretty quickly how to get paid. For this article, I wanted to focus purely on how to land UGC brand deals.

How to get UGC deals 

So, to summarize, here’s how I recommend you get started if you’ve never made UGC before in your life:

  • Practice your UGC skills (mainly video creation, but also communicating with brands)
  • Once you feel confident that you can create great content, sign up for UGC platforms and apply for jobs.
  • If you don’t have intro videos or experience, follow the steps outlined in this article to hack your way into building a fantastic UGC content creator portfolio and profile.

You might see other articles saying that you need social media channels, but I disagree–they’re unnecessary when you’re just starting. Not all UGC platforms ask for links to your social media accounts, and brands don’t need them–they can see your portfolio right on the UGC platform.

(Of course, if you plan on doing cold outreach on social, that would change the answer. But if you’re looking for FAST results, I recommend using UGC platforms first. They’re just easier.) 

Here’s the thing: Sometimes, we, as humans, tend to overcomplicate things. But with UGC, there’s no need for that. It’s as straightforward as it seems: Get better at shooting videos and apply to as many gigs as possible.

That’s it. Most creators fail to land UGC brand deals because they quit too early. Don’t be that creator–keep going, and you’ll be a bona fide UGC creator in no time! 🥳

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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