What UGC is and how creators can make money from user-generated content

Written by
Maria Grigore
November 16, 2022

UGC is short for user-generated content. This is any kind of content created by users for a brand, content including Tiktok videos, Instagram Reels or posts, Youtube videos, blog posts, and reviews. 

What are the benefits of UGC campaigns? 

Brands pay for UGC because it is a great way to get authentic and genuine content that helps to increase reach and engagement, as well as to improve SEO. The brand may provide guidelines or even specific content for users to create, or they may simply encourage users to be creative.

When the topic of UGC went viral on TikTok earlier this year a lot of people jumped on that train because those creators made it seem like a quick and easy way to make money. While the reality is not as simple, the process behind it is straightforward:

  1. Brand gives creator the product to try out
  2. Creator makes the content about the product
  3. Brand signs off on the content or creator does 1-2 revisions
  4. Creator gets paid

That’s it.

The distinguishing appeal of UGC is that the creator doesn’t need to have a large number of followers - that’s the difference between UGC creators and influencers! The brands working with the UGC creators are also often small and just starting out. This means lower barrier of entry for both brands and creators to collaborate.

Even if you as a creator don’t have a large number of followers, you can still become a UGC creator and make money, as long as you can demonstrate passion for a product and showcase it in an appealing way.

All creators need to start is a phone, a tripod, and energy to go for it! Who doesn't love getting free products or getting paid while doing something you love?

UGC creator industry evolution

But the industry is evolving and as both the brands and the creators are getting more sophisticated the requirements are going up too. Brands are more stringent with their requests and brand guidelines looking for creators that match their brand and values closely. On the other hand, creators in the UGC space are focusing on narrower niches of industries and types of products, or working with brands with values that they can be passionate about and align with.

Doing simple unboxing or product walk through videos don’t cut it anymore and creators need to dedicate time to research, planning, and pay attention to a few things:

  • Be professional - even though UGC is all about being creative, it's still important to be professional and easy to do business with. You are dealing with a person working for the brand and you want to make their life easy. This means being polite and responsive when communicating, and it also means meeting deadlines and listening to feedback.
  • Knowledge about the product and the alternatives - a lot of times, a creator is given a product to try without any context or without knowing anything about the product. As a result, the creator is not able to present an objective opinion about it. It is important for the creators to have some context and ideally, knowledge about the product, before they start filming. This will help them present a more nuanced and objective opinion.
  • Creating Value - the content should be more than just unboxing or a product walk-through. This means that the content should be more than just a sponsored ad or a review. The content should ideally provide some value to the viewers, whether it is in the form of entertainment or education.
  • High-quality video and audio - The video should be well-lit and in focus, with good audio. You don’t need a fancy camera, but your phone’s camera should be able to produce a clear image, so pick well lit environment and a presentable background.
  • On-brand - Your video should be on-brand for the product you’re talking about. This means using the product in a way that is consistent with how the brand wants it to be seen - pay attention to their guidelines and their existing content.
Structure for UGC content

Here is a simple but powerful UGC video recipe:

  • Hook
  • Bad Alternative
  • Education on problem
  • Product Intro
  • Benefits
  • Results and CTA

This could possibly turn into a long video, so make sure to keep it engaging with short scenes, quick cuts and transitions.

How can creators get started with UGC?

If you're interested in getting started with UGC, the best thing to do is to research good examples of UGC and then reach out to brands you're interested in working with. You can also check out platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to find UGC gigs.

How much should I charge for UGC?

This will vary depending on the type of content you're creating, the length of the content, and the brand you're working with. As a general rule, you can expect to charge anywhere from $50 to $500 (and sometimes more) for UGC depending on the size of your audience and brand’s ability to pay, but it will always be a matter of individual agreement.

UGC can be a great way to earn money as a creator, but it's important to be strategic about it and we hope the tips we laid out here will be useful for you to understand what it is and give you some know-how in how to get started.

If you think you’d be a great fit to make some UGC content for Pensight, even if you have never made UGC content before, reach out to us via info@pensight.com!

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