HOW TO: User Generated Content
User-generated content is the bread and butter of brand marketing on social media and has redefined how brands and consumers engage on social. User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created by real customers for a brand — giving it a more raw and authentic look than a branded photoshoot. Studies show that UGC is more than 9.8x more influential than social influencers in impacting purchasing decisions. It’s no wonder that brands are now paying creators to produce more UGC content that feels organic.
That poses the question, what’s the benefit for creators? Unlike paid sponsorships, creating UGC content isn’t about how big your audience is — it’s about having real life customers create promotional content on behalf of a brand. Brands love UGC because it hugely impacts their marketing strategy. Content created by UG creators comes off more authentic, engaging, and has a higher trust credibility.
So what exactly do you need to get started? Let’s dive in.
The first step is to identify what makes UGC feel authentic and real. The best way to do this is to learn from a brand’s social media. What makes a piece of content feel personal and authentic? A UK-based fashion brand, Edikted, uses UGC almost exclusively across their social platforms.
By using photos creators have tagged them in, Edikted’s marketing team is able to capture the feeling of a naturally occurring content.
Across your own social media feed, find brands that are actively using UGC as their main form of content and try to identify what makes that content feel authentic. Are there common themes across all of the posts? Do they prefer video content over a photo carousel? The key to discovering how you can aid a brand’s social media is to absorb the content they’re already reposting and discover how you can add to it.
Determine Where You Can Add Value
Once you have an idea of what makes UGC feel authentic and personal, start thinking about how can create similar content. What industries or brands could you see this type of content being organic and natural for you to produce?
If you’re a smaller creator just starting out, this is a perfect time to identify your niche as a creator and how you can monetize around that. If you’re a more experienced creator, what brands can you make content for that feels genuine to you?
Practice Your Content
Creating content that feels natural is a skill, and one that will require some practice. Hone in on the specific content the brand is promoting and practice creating that type of content. Your content needs to tell a story about the brand, while also being personal and specific to the creator. Good lighting, framing, and clear audio is important — but don’t worry about making your finished product feel too polished. The reason UGC is so successful is because it’s coming from you, rather than a professional studio.
When making practice content, try to recreate videos or photos from a brand’s feed and then compare back to the original. Does your content feel like it could authentically live on that profile? You may have to recreate a piece of content multiple times until you feel like you’ve nailed it.
Building a UGC portfolio is similar to creating your media kit, but the focus is completely different. A media kit is based on the following and reach you can bring to a brand while a UGC portfolio is for showcasing the quality of content you can deliver.
Give examples of your work. If you’ve created UGC previously for either a brand or product, make sure to highlight that. If not, showcase any practice content you’ve made as examples of your work quality. Try to show how you can both match a brand aesthetic while also bringing your unique style to the job.
You will also need to include a rate card as well as your contact details. For your rate card, rates may vary based on experience and previous partnerships. These rates can be similar to the rates on your traditional media kit or different based on the amount of content you’re producing.
Need an example? We love this portfolio created by @socialsbymel on TikTok and this portfolio explanation by @UGCang.
Using the UGC portfolio you created, it’s now time to reach out to brands you’d like to create content for. Keep this outreach concise and let your portfolio speak for itself.
This is an incredible way for smaller creators to begin pitching themselves, because you don’t need a large following to attract a brand partnership with UGC content. However, all creators can benefit from producing this type of content, whether just for their own feeds or for a collaboration.
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