Written by StreamYard
What is a UGC Creator, and How Do You Become One?
UGC stands for "User-Generated Content." It refers to any content created by individuals rather than a brand, specifically for commercial use or promotional purposes. Because of their more authentic vibe, they're seen as more trustworthy by audiences. Which is why more and more brands are opting for this style of content.
Have you considered becoming a creator of UGC content? If the answer is yes, then this guide will be a helpful companion, as we will cover everything you need to know about influencer marketing strategy, social proof, and brand partnerships to take your personal business to the next level.
Let’s Start With The Basics: What is a UGC Creator?
The term UGC stands for User-Generated Content. So, a UCG creator is a User-Generated Content creator - or a creator in charge of producing original videos, images, reviews, comments, or other forms of media.
Now, of course, anyone can create this type of content. The difference lies in who does it. In order for content to be UGC, it needs to be generated by a user or consumer rather than professional content producers.
Why Are UGC Creators So Sought After?
The bottom line of why this career choice has become such a popular one can be summarized into this: UGC creators can have a significant impact on shaping public opinion, influencing trends, and contributing to online conversations about products, services, or topics.
In the context of marketing and brand promotion, User-Generated Content creators are perceived as more authentic and trustworthy, particularly when compared with traditional advertising or branded content. But that’s not all!
Here are some of the main reasons why companies seek UGC creators:
It has been long proven that consumers often trust the opinions and experiences of fellow users more than they trust advertising messages from brands. In fact, according to a recent study by Nielsen, 88% of people said they trusted recommendations from others they know above all other forms of marketing. In other words, consumers want to hear from real people!
UGC creators also often have a strong connection with their audience and can relate to them on a much more personal level. This relatability simply makes their content more engaging and influential.
Many creators specialize in specific niches or industries. They are usually experts in those areas, too. So, brands know they can leverage this expertise to target a particular audience segment effectively - something many marketing strategies have trouble with.
UGC creators have another clear advantage: They often also have dedicated and engaged followers who actively consume and interact with their content. This acts as a sort of built-in audience that can be an invaluable asset for brands looking to promote their products or services. In other words, the audience is already there, watching. All the businesses need to do is use the existing space.
Collaborating with UGC creators can also be much more cost-effective than creating traditional advertising campaigns or hiring celebrities for product or service endorsements. Many creators, in fact, are willing to work with brands just in exchange for products or modest compensation. A win-win if you ask us!
UGC creators are active on a wide range of platforms, including social media like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, as well as blogs and forums. This means that brands have the opportunity to choose those creators whose platforms align with their target audience. For example, someone targeting millennials might go for a Facebook influencer, while a Gen-Z company could prefer TikTok reels.
Lastly, UGC has the potential to go viral, spreading rapidly across social media platforms and reaching a broader audience than traditional advertising. So, for much lower pricing, brands know they have a chance to distribute their product ads to thousands, in some cases, millions of users.
Are UGC Creators And Influencers The Same?
Well, this is quite an interesting question.
Technically, a UGC creator doesn’t need to be an influencer. All he or she needs to do is create content that looks like it’s coming from one. Let us explain.
UGC is content created by real brand fans. However, many freelancers who specialize in content creation for social media know precisely how to write texts or create videos that feel that way. These paid creators work with brands in a way that seems completely organic.
Ultimately, the goal of being a good UGC creator is all about building relationships and driving conversions. Whether they want to, at the same time, promote their own content - that’s a slightly different story. But this is great news if you’re considering joining the UGC world but don’t want to necessarily become an expert in a specific niche.
How Do You Become a UGC Creator? A Step-by-Step Guide
The first thing we should mention before we jump into our hopefully very comprehensive UGC guide is that you DO NOT NEED to have a high follower count to get started. However, you will need time, consistency, and hard work to enjoy a good UGC path. So, be disciplined, but don’t quit your full-time job just yet!
Step 1: Identify Your Brands
In any content creator's journey, identifying the type of brands you want to work with is quite crucial. This process will typically involve careful consideration and strategic planning because you want to make ensure your collaborations align with your personal brand, values, and goals.
If you’re just getting started, it can be tempting to say yes to any business that comes your way. But it’s important to work on your identity right from the beginning and not confuse potential clients with too many interests, niches, or topics.
So, let’s see how you can go around this first step of finding your perfect UGC brands.
Define Your Niche and Interests
Start by defining your niche and interests as a UGC creator. For example: What topics, industries, or products are you genuinely passionate about? We’re talking for real!
Your content will be more authentic and engaging when you are genuinely interested in the subject matter, so focus on the things you like and enjoy. You can, for instance, consider your hobbies, expertise, or areas of knowledge that you can leverage.
Understand Your Audience
It’s also quite important to take the time to understand your audience's demographics, interests, and preferences. Think: What kind of content resonates with them? Which brands or products do they engage with the most?
This knowledge about your followers (or potential followers) will help you identify brands that align with your audience's interests and make it easier to reach out to them.
Research Potential Brand Partners
A good sub-step here is to conduct thorough research so you can identify the brands that match your niche and also align with your personal values.
In particular, look for brands that have a target audience similar to yours. This will take you one step closer to your goal! So, explore their products, services, mission, and values to ensure they align with your own. Then, see which of them you would like to promote and start considering how you could do that (or how you can do it better than others).
Assess The Brand’s Reputation
Do not forget to assess the reputation and credibility of the brands you're interested in working with.
To do this, you can read reviews, analyze customer feedback, and check if they have a history of ethical business practices. You will definitely want to associate yourself with brands that have a positive image and can enhance your credibility as a creator - and staying far away from those can be seen as problematic and damage your work!
Rather than looking for one-off collaborations, consider building long-term relationships with brands. In fact, consistent partnerships can be more beneficial for both you and the brand, as they allow for deeper integration and ongoing engagement.
By forging long-term relationships with certain businesses, you will not just work towards more deals but also ensure a continuous flow of income.
(Maybe) Diversify Your Portfolio
While it's essential to work with brands that align with your interests and values, you don't have to limit yourself too narrowly.
Let us rephrase. It is okay to diversify your brand partnerships to avoid over-reliance on a single source of income. It’s better to explore opportunities in different niches that still resonate with your audience - and, more importantly, be open to the possibility of new products and services that can work well with your content, even if you think they might be a change at first.
Step 2: Create Some Content
We have discussed researching brands, products, and services you like. Once you have an idea (or a list, if you are very organized!), it’s time to work on your content.
We have divided this section into five subsections to make it easier to cover all important steps. These are choosing a niche and/or style, researching your audience, keeping consistent, engaging with people, and experimenting and innovating. Let’s go through them now.
Choose Your Content Niche or Style
Alright, first things first. It's time to decide whether you want to specialize in a specific niche or become a generalist.
What's the difference, you ask? Specializing can help you build expertise and a dedicated audience in a particular field, such as fashion, travel, technology, or fitness. Alternatively, if you prefer a broader range of topics, you can become a generalist and explore various subjects, allowing for more flexibility and creativity in your content.
While working with a niche topic is a great way to build yourself as the go-to person, generalists also have a broad range of skills and experience. In many cases, this choice depends heavily on the industry. Sometimes, it pays off to be the best at something, while other times, it’s a better deal to know a little of everything.
Research and Analyze Your Audience
We have mentioned this above, but it's important to emphasize it again as it's a pretty important step in your journey to become a successful UGC creator. It's vital to conduct thorough research to understand the content landscape within your chosen niche.
Here are some ways to do this: Firstly, identify your key competitors and successful creators in your field. Then, analyze what makes their content engaging and unique.
You can also study your audience's preferences within your niche. What topics, formats, or styles do they respond to most positively? What content do they engage with the most? And can their comments offer you any insights? All of this knowledge will guide your content creation strategy, so make sure you keep your eyes and ears open!
We cannot reinforce this more: Consistency is key. You need to commit to creating content consistently. Otherwise, your chances of becoming and remaining a successful UGC creator will be slim.
Regular uploads or posts can help you maintain audience engagement and growth. Plus, consistency builds trust with your audience, as they know when to expect new content from you. Now, while consistency is important, don't forget to also prioritize the quality of your content. High-quality content is more likely to resonate with your audience and attract new followers.
If you have trouble planning ahead, you can consider creating a content calendar to plan your posts, videos, or articles in advance. This can help you stay organized and ensure a steady stream of content for your channel - and more satisfied brand partners!
Engage with Your Audience
It's also a good idea to interact with your audience regularly. For example, respond to comments, messages, and feedback as soon as you can so you can foster a sense of community and loyalty.
Also, pay special attention to what your audience is saying or requesting and adapt your content accordingly. This iterative approach can help you refine your content strategy and better meet your audience's needs. If you also stay updated on industry trends and how algorithms change on social media platforms or do online courses, webinars, and read industry publications, even better.
Experiment, Innovate, and Measure
Don't be afraid to experiment with new content formats, topics, or styles, too. Innovation can help you stay fresh and stand out in a crowded online space and separate your channel from your competitors’. And... it's fun.
Make sure you keep an eye on emerging trends and adapt your content to stay relevant. Embracing new platforms and technologies can also expand your reach. Oh, and another important consideration: Use analytics tools provided by your favorite social media platforms, websites, or other content hosting sites to track the performance of your content. You can usually monitor metrics like engagement, reach, click-through rates, and audience demographics to see what content performs well and what doesn't. Then, all you need to do is adjust your strategy based on data-driven insights.
Step 3: Build Your Portfolio
Building a portfolio is possibly the most crucial step for anyone who’s aspiring to become a UGC creator. There's just no way around it. Let's be super-clear on this: You don't necessarily need an audience, but you DO need a portfolio.
It doesn't matter also if you're a seasoned content creator looking to take your career to the next level or you're just starting out in the world of UGC. A well-organized portfolio can make a significant difference in your journey. So, how do you go about doing this?
Showcasing Your Skills and Style
A portfolio is sort of your creative resume. It's where you display your skills, style, and versatility (and also show your content marketing power).
When you pitch brands or seek collaborations, potential partners will often want to see examples of your work. So, your portfolio can be the ideal place to showcase your best pieces, giving them a taste of what you can do for their products and services.
A well-curated portfolio can also help you establish your credibility and professionalism because it demonstrates that you take your work seriously and have a track record of producing high-quality social media content. This can make brands more inclined to work with you, as they can trust your ability to deliver results.
Using Your Portfolio to Attract Brands and Collaborators
Brands often search for content creators who (no surprise here) align with their values and target audience. By having a diverse and compelling portfolio, you can increase your chances of catching their eye, especially if you and they have a specific style or niche.
In other words, a varied portfolio can be the best way to attract collaboration opportunities.
It can be a good idea to, as you progress in your UGC career, also show how your skills and style have evolved. Remember: A portfolio is a living document that allows you to highlight your growth and improvement over time. It can help you demonstrate your adaptability and commitment to staying relevant in a rapidly changing digital landscape, so it’s a great place to show the evolution of your work.
Tailoring Your UGC Portfolio
You should also consider tailoring your portfolio to suit different niches or industries you want to work in.
Say, for example, that you're interested in fashion. Then, what you can do is have a section of your portfolio dedicated to fashion-related content. Or, if you're into travel, you can showcase your travel-related content.
This customization can make your portfolio more appealing to specific brands within those niches. If you cover several of them, you can create different ones and choose which one to send depending on the brand or partnership opportunity.
Organization, Presentation, and Consistency
The way you organize and present your portfolio matters. There’s no way around it; we all care about what things look like. So, it’s a good idea to always ensure your UGC portfolio is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and visually appealing.
Remember to use high-quality images and videos to showcase your work. You can also write brief descriptions or captions that provide context and insights into each piece of content.
Also, maintain consistency as much as you can. For example, you can use a similar style or theme for your portfolio website or social media profiles to reinforce your personal brand. This consistency will help potential collaborators recognize your work across different platforms - which is a nice plus!
Seek Feedback and Update Your Portfolio Regularly
Don't hesitate to seek feedback from peers, mentors, or even your audience. They will be able to, on the one hand, provide valuable insights on what works well in your portfolio and what could be improved.
It’s also important to keep your portfolio up-to-date with your latest and best work. Updating it regularly will show that you're actively engaged in your craft and that you're constantly striving to improve.
The Easiest Way to Record Your UGC Content
If you’re looking for a simple yet powerful way to record and stream your content to different social media, you should try StreamYard.
StreamYard is a platform that allows you to go live, record podcasts, and multistream to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Twitch, and more - all from the same place. Plus, you can brand your show with logos, colors, overlays, intros, and outros.
Becoming a UGC creator can be quite an exciting endeavor - filled with endless opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and personal growth.
However, no matter whether you are a newbie or a seasoned content creator, remember that the key to people’s hearts (and those belonging to brands, let’s be honest) is authenticity, engagement, and consistency.
So, go forth, and share your passion — your unique voice can truly make a difference. And make you some money!
UGC Creation FAQs
What are the Benefits of UGC for Marketing?
User-generated content offers several benefits when it comes to marketing, including increased engagement, higher conversion rates, and cost-effectiveness. What’s more, it can help create a sense of community around your brand and give social proof through real customer experiences, testimonials, and endorsements. Additionally, UGC can serve as a valuable source of fresh, relevant content for your marketing campaigns.
Is Permission Required for Using UGC?
Yes, obtaining permission is crucial before using any user-generated content. If you are a business planning on sharing other people’s experiences, you should always seek explicit consent from the UGC content creator or user whose content you wish to feature or repurpose (especially when it involves their personal images or videos). You can do this by clearly communicating how their content will be used, giving them the option to opt out if they so choose.
How Can I Encourage UGC from my Audience?
Encouraging user-generated authentic content from your audience involves creating an interactive and engaging environment for all involved. Confusing? Don’t worry. All we mean is that you should ask open-ended questions, run contests or challenges, and provide incentives like discounts or recognition for their contributions. Make sure to showcase and appreciate user-generated content on your platforms to motivate others to participate.