Right now my TikTok FYP switches between reruns of Blue Ivy on stage and families giving their own rendition of “Give Me One Margarita Imma Open My Legs’. But, every so often, I’ll have a stream of UGC creators pop up in between.
Each tells me a different variation of the same thing: I could make a lot of money ‘doing UGC’. But WTF is a UGC creator? And how does it make me money?
Today, we’re going through the basics.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- REMINDER, WHAT IS UGC?
- WHAT IS A UGC CREATOR?
- UGC CREATOR MEANING
- CHARACTERISTICS OF UGC CREATORS
- MEDIUMS FOR UGC CREATION
- TOP UGC CREATORS
- TIPS FOR STARTING UGC
This content serves as a form of social proof. Consumers trust recommendations from others way more than they trust advertisements from the brand themselves: 60% of consumers say that UGC is the most authentic form of content.
So, What Is A UGC Creator?
Brands know that UGC works. In 2023, rather than patiently wait for customers and consumers to provide the goods, brands are taking control. They are paying specialized creators to make content that looks like organic consumer content. These specialized creators are UGC creators (User Generated Content creators).
💡UGC Creator Meaning
A UGC creator is a specialized content creator that makes organic looking content for brands to use on their feeds and within paid ads. UGC content is low spec and looks natural to a consumer feed.
Characteristics of UGC Creators
While there is some overlap between UGC creators and influencers, they are different. UGC provides the content for brands to utilize on their own platforms or in their ads. Influencers are instead used to reach a following.
❌ UGC creators don’t have followers
This isn’t universal, some creators will have built up a following, but generally this is because they’ve positioned themself as a UGC coach. UGC creators are essentially actors, or faces of brands. They don’t post branded content to their own social media platforms, unless specifically requested by brands, but this would come with an extra fee, and crosses into influencer territory.
❌ UGC doesn’t use fancy equipment
Despite the fact that UGC creators film content for multi-million dollar brands, this is done on an iPhone, and often edited on CapCut. There is nothing fancy about UGC, and that is very much intentional. UGC is a form of marketing that appeals to consumers because it looks natural on their feeds. It’s not natural, but it fits in, so holds their attention for longer.
✅ UGC creators understand direct response marketing principles
Direct response marketing focuses on capturing the viewer’s attention within a short span of time and prompting them to take a specific and immediate action. The goal is to motivate viewers to do something. To achieve this, direct response marketers create short videos that are highly engaging, visually appealing, and convey a clear call-to-action. They often use storytelling, humor, or creative techniques to capture the viewer’s interest and create a sense of urgency or excitement around the desired action. In the world of UGC, being able to deliver good direct response video content can be a gold-mine.
✅ UGC creators are professional content creators
UGC gets a bad rap because of the low barrier to entry. Everyone and their mom can start UGC, but not everyone keeps with it. It’s a real profession, it requires skill, expertise and perseverance to make it in a saturated industry. If you can, the rewards can be lucrative. Brands typically pay around $150 per 30 second video, and more often than not commission more than one.
Common Mediums For UGC Creation
In 2023, UGC creators are generally creating content for two platforms: TikTok and Meta (Instagram and Facebook). This content is in the form of short form video: 15-60 seconds, and can be delivered as raw clips, or a set of edited deliverables brands can just hit the ground running with. There are two mains ways brands will use UGC content:
Organic UGC is a brand building exercise. Creators help with content that can assist the brand in building their community or increase engagement for their socials. This might be in the form of trend videos, or try-ons. There isn’t as much emphasis on a clear CTA, but more so focus on creating content that connects.
Let’s take this video for UK fitness brand Tala, for example. It’s a perfect example of organic UGC content: trend led, low budget content that looks as though it has been naturally created by a fan of the brand (who just happens to be wearing Tala).
This isn’t to say that an organic UGC post that performs well can’t be used as an ad, many can still perform well as an ad even without a direct response.
For a UGC Ad, the goal is to drive a conversion, also known as a response. Direct response often employs persuasive techniques to encourage the target audience to take action. It typically includes a clear call-to-action that guides the audience on what they need to do: hook, problem, solution, buy.
@wearetala the skorts that sold out in a flash are back: re-introducing the skinluxe skort. the perfect mini skirt length with built in shorts for ultimate comfort and hidden side pockets to stash any valuables, your phones or snacks in (obviously): every detail has been carefully crafted to ensure you can do it all - this will the base of your summer uniform. she’s practical enough to wear to your fave gym class but cute enough to be styled up to go out and about, with all the versatility and none of the *flash stress*. // #weareTALA #teamTALA ♬ original sound - TALA
Using TALA again as an example, you can see an example of their direct response ad content on the same platform. The difference? This ad starts with a pain point – “Do you love the idea of a skirt but hate the idea of flashing someone?” and ends with a solution. “We took our best selling leggings and transformed them into a skort”. This is a mash up of various creators with a cohesive voice over, but you get the idea.
The goal is to create a sense of urgency and provide a direct path for the audience to respond.
Top UGC Creators
There are quite literally millions of UGC creators in the industry: the hashtag UGCCreator has 1.3B views on TikTok. Finding the gems isn’t always easy, but the top UGC creators are a great place to start when looking for guidance. Now, I don’t mean the creators who are telling you how to start UGC. I mean the ones that are actually doing it. Look at their portfolio, the brands they are working with and how they present themself on social media.
Sonya is a Creative Strategist and creator for brands in the health & wellness, fitness and self care space. Her experience in creating both organic and paid media for Ecomm, service based and SAAS brands has resulted in better engagement and conversions for her brand’s target audience. Some of her most recent projects include: The Vitamin Shoppe, ISSA, LUMEN, OREO, Bumble & Gleamin.
Clark is a creator based in Chicago, Illinois. He has run multiple businesses from home and has spent over half a decade documenting my business journey and teaching others how to avoid the hurdles that slowed me down. This has given him a unique perspective as a creator who has both grown my own following and helped other brands create content.
Tips for Becoming a UGC Creator
Personal brand over pitching
Personal brand over pitching, any day. So many people are so concerned about pitching, but it’s just one of many methods you can use to get work as a UGC creator. The best one, is personal branding.Personal branding creates a sustainable network around you, that means work comes to you, instead of you having to seek it out.
Target brands, not creators
If you’re trying to attract brands with your TikTok and you’re posting videos like tips on getting your first brand deal or how to start UGC, you are not attracting brands, you’re attracting other creators. Try to focus on posting your work more than anything else.
Even if you don’t have brand deals, make videos
Even if you don’t brand deals, just make videos. The more you post your work, the more chances you’re going to put yourself in front of the right person at the right time. So just grab products around your house and start creating content: anything to showcase your skill set.
Most importantly, stick with it. Becoming a UGC creator is not easy (contrary to popular belief), but it can be lucrative if you remain consistent. Good luck!