If you’ve spotted the term “UGC creator” popping up on your feed, you’re not alone.
The hashtag #ugccreator has over 110M views on TikTok and over 20K posts (and counting) on Instagram.
So, what is a UGC creator, why are they growing in popularity, and how do you become one? We’re breaking it all down, below.
What Is a UGC Creator?
Historically, UGC (user-generated content) has been defined as content created organically by a brand’s followers or consumers — that is then shared by the brand on its own accounts.
Brands love UGC and for good reason — a 2021 study revealed that 80% of respondents said UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
This is where the new “UGC creators” come in.
A UGC creator is a content creator who specifically creates content that looks like UGC — but it’s been paid for.
“Unlike influencers who need to grow their community before they start working with brands, UGC creators don’t need tons of followers nor are they obligated to show their face.
“But it’s not technically organic — which is what UGC is. UGC has worked so well because it’s content created by real fans of a brand. This trend is just another word for freelance content creation,” adds Christine Colling, Later’s Social Media Manager.
And Christine’s not alone. A few marketers like Taylor Loren have shared their thoughts on the UGC creator trend:
Here at Later, our content marketing team defines UGC creators as:
Freelance content creators who specialize in creating UGC-inspired content for brands — whether it’s photos or videos.
In fact, we’ve paid creators — like Kayed Mohamed-Mason — to create content specifically for our social media accounts that resemble UGC:
“We started experimenting with this earlier in 2022 because we’re a small team and needed more content. Instead of branded content, we commissioned videos from Kayed that seemed organic and similar to what we’d naturally post on our feed,” shares Christine.
The main takeaway? Whatever you call it — UGC creator or freelance content creator — brands are paying for more “authentic” content to drive sales and traffic.
How to Become a UGC Creator
The rise of the UGC creator trend opens the door for more people to create content (and get paid for it) regardless of their follower count — which is great!
However, it takes time, consistency, hard work, and a steady stream of income before you can claim full-time content creator status. So don’t quit your day job just yet.
Similar to anyone starting out in freelance content creation, here are three tips to become a UGC creator:
- Identify Brands to Work With
- Create Content
- Build Your Portfolio
Tip #1: Identify the Type of Brands You Want to Work With
Before you start creating UGC, make a list of the brands you’d love to work with.
If that’s too niche, consider the industry you’d like to work in: Wellness? Fashion? B2B? Tech? Sports?
From there, spend some time auditing the content they already post:
- What content seems to be working for them? What posts get the most comments or views?
- Do they post a lot of UGC? If so, what does it look like?
- What would draw your attention and make you stop scrolling?
- Who is their target audience? What is their brand voice?
- Are there any gaps in their content? Could they benefit from more Reels or TikTok tutorials?
Remember: UGC works well because it looks and feels authentic.
Working with brands in an industry that is of interest to you will make for a dream partnership and let your genuine connection with their product shine through.
Tip #2: Create Content — Practice Makes Perfect
Establish the type of content you want to specialize in — or whether you’ll be a generalist.
If you’d like to focus on images, it may be worth taking a few beginner photography courses. If you’re more comfortable on camera, create short-form videos that’d work well on Reels, TikTok, or Stories.
You can also practice on your own account. This will help you build your portfolio while experimenting with different features and content styles.
Tip #3: Create and Build Your Portfolio
Building a portfolio can help you pitch brands more effectively, highlight your work, and build long-term collaborations.
Some creators recommend using a Canva template to create a portfolio that explains who you are, why the brand needs UGC, and previous work (if you don’t have work yet, “create videos at home,” says creator @ugcang):
If you’re not ready to pitch directly, you can search websites like Upwork, or even Twitter — which has tons of brands doing open calls looking for UGC creators:
Before you put all your eggs in one basket, it’s important to remember that good things take time, and becoming a successful UGC creator won’t happen overnight.
And keep in mind that this UGC trend could simmer down — the social media landscape is constantly evolving with new trends popping up every week.
That said, if you’ve been interested in freelance content creation — UGC or otherwise — now may be your time to shine.