What Is a UGC Creator? (And How To Become One in 2024)

by Nicholas Bouchard · Published Feb 2, 2024

If you’re on TikTok, you may have noticed a number of creators talking about UGC (or user-generated content) and the money they’re making from it.

“I made $1,000 in my first week as a UGC creator,” one shares. “This is how I make $7-10k a month, all from home,” another UGC creator tells her viewers. Many are posting videos about UGC examples that have landed them paid deals, and tutorials on how to build a UGC portfolio. It’s enough to make your head spin.

Ahead, we break down what you need to know about the rise of UGC creators, how you can become one, and if it’s really the gravy train some TikTokers are claiming it is.

What is a UGC creator?

User-generated content (UGC) is a term that’s long been used by brands to refer to organic content that customers make about their products or services. That content then often gets featured on a brand’s own marketing channels, sometimes as part of a broader campaign. Not surprising, since 50% of consumers find UGC more memorable than traditional branded content.

In recent years, this shift has led to the rise of the UGC creator, a type of creator that specializes in content promoting products and services that looks just as organic as posts by real customers.

UGC creators vs. influencers: the key difference

You might be wondering, “What is the difference between UGC creators and influencers then?” While the two might seem similar, the way they fit in a brand’s marketing strategy is quite different.

With influencers, brands are paying for access to their audience (i.e. their reach and often huge following). When an influencer collaborates with a brand, they’d typically create a promotional post and publish it on their own social media profile.

With UGC creators, however, brands are looking for relatable, authentic-feeling content that they can use to promote their business. Essentially, UGC should feel like a friend’s recommendation, rather than a famous internet personality selling something to you. It’s worth noting that when a UGC creator works with a brand, the content created is meant to live on the brand’s own social media platforms, not the creator’s profile.

Want to see some examples of UGC? Check out these videos on the TikTok accounts of Starbucks, Airbnb, and Revlon.


Rotating through all the holiday cold foams until further notice. 🎄 #Starbucks #StarbucksDrinks #Holiday #EndOfYear

♬ original sound – Starbucks – Starbucks

brb, googling flights to costa rica. ✈️ listing name: canyon casa: direct riverfront, 25 min to airport in san jose, costa rica #airbnbpartner #sanjose #nature #puravida

♬ original sound – airbnb

Obsessing over this sugar plum fairy look 🧚‍♀️💜✨

♬ Nutcracker: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairly(845241) – ogsogs

Why are brands hiring UGC creators?

Historically, user-generated content was created organically by consumers sharing their experiences with a brand on their own social media accounts. It wasn’t transactional — consumers were simply excited to share a great product or service with their friends and followers. Brands would sometimes reach out to these customers and ask for their permission to feature that content on their channels, maybe even paying them a small amount as compensation.

Over the last few years, however, many brands have started hiring content creators to produce custom-made UGC for them. Hence the rise of the UGC creator.

So, why are brands paying for this kind of content?

It’s cheaper than influencer campaigns.

When a brand works with an influencer, it’s paying for access to their audience. Depending on the influencer’s following, the brand might be willing to pay big money. According to some estimates, influencers can charge anywhere from $500 to $45,000 for a single promotional post. After all, even if a tiny fraction of the influencer’s 500K followers purchase a product after seeing their sponsored post, it could translate to a lot of sales.

In contrast, when working with UGC creators, brands are simply paying for their content production. According to influencer marketing platform LeaLi, a UGC creator can expect to charge between $100 and $2,500 for a 60-second video.

It saves costs than to product content in-house.

With layoffs and budget cuts across industries, many brands have either lost the marketers that would usually handle social media content creation, or their teams just don’t have the resources to make it themselves.

This is a widespread issue — almost half of all marketers say that staffing issues prevent them from creating all the content they need to support their business. That’s another reason why more and more brands are turning to UGC creators.

It feels authentic rather than salesy.

UGC creators are masters of promoting products through content, while still honing in on the feeling of authenticity. This is a skill that’s incredibly valuable for brands, as 80% of consumers prefer to learn about a brand through real customers’ recommendations than influencer promotions. People are more likely to make purchases based on content by someone who feels like a friend or peer.

It can help boost sales.

Consider the perspective of a marketer — they’re trying to find ways to bring in the most business for their brand for a good price. While the idea of paying creators to produce UGC is relatively new, it’s already shown to be a great way to boost sales.

According to a 2023 survey by EnTribe, 86% of consumers trust brands that use UGC over influencer marketing. Meanwhile, another research by Power Reviews suggests that 80% of consumers find user-generated imagery more valuable than photos by brands or retailers when contemplating a purchase. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that more and more brands are looking to work with UGC creators.

How to become a UGC creator

One advantage of being a UGC creator — as opposed to a traditional influencer — is that you don’t need a huge following to start making money. Since the content you create is getting published on a brand’s channels instead of your own, it’s more about the quality of the content than the size of your following.

So, to start your UGC creator journey, you need to start building your content creation skills. Remember this: just because UGC doesn’t require the production value of a big advertising campaign, that doesn’t mean it should look unprofessional. Here’s your guide on how to become a UGC creator.

Step 1: Research brands and content

Brainstorm some brands you’d like to work with and do some research on them. What are the niches or industries you’d like to create UGC for? What kind of UGC do they tend to feature on their profiles?

Before reaching out to brands, you should find and consume as much UGC content as possible. Don’t just scroll through the content quickly, but actually analyze it. What makes good UGC stand out? Take notes as you prepare to shoot content yourself and build your UGC portfolio.


Replying to @eva pau RESEARCH – would be the first thing you need to do if you’re starting your UGC Journey in 2023! ✅ Research retail and shopping trends ✅ Research UGC news and terms ✅ Research and study top ads from TikTok Creative Centre or even from your own feed ✅ Research the brand before you even reach out ✅ Research portfolio best practices before you even begin with your portfolio

♬ original sound – Sean at SM Social | UGC 🇨🇦

Step 2: Invest in your filming equipment and setup

Sure, you can start creating UGC with just your phone and a cheap ring light. However, if you want to make this a viable side hustle or career, your setup needs to level up alongside your ambitions. Here’s some equipment you might want to invest in:

A good camera

Some smartphones have nice cameras and often beat entry-level digital cameras. So you’ll want to get either one of those phones or a professional camera. You don’t need to invest a ton of money here — the point is to get something that works for you and can help you produce good quality visuals.


A ring light is a good start, but it’s not always the best solution for great lighting. Research how other content creators light their videos, and figure out what lighting equipment you’ll need for UGC content creation.


💡The BEST lighting for UGC creators!💡 🙌🏻Just when I think I bought the best cordless ring light in the world, LumeCube comes out with the flex light! This light is EVERYTHING!! 😍I have loved every light I have purchased from LumeCube. 💡👆🏻Link to this light in my bio! You will thank me later! #ugc #ugccontentcreator #lumecube #ringlight #ugccreator #ugccommunity #ugctips #ugctools #contentcreatortools

♬ original sound – Marzia Prince

A reliable microphone

The crisper your visuals, the more bad audio will stand out. This is where your phone probably won’t be able to cut it. Using a separate microphone will dramatically improve the audio quality of your UGC content.

Replying to @That guy Microphones are great if you want to keep your sound clear and crisp, reducing background noises and making sure people can still hear you no matter how far you are #contentcreationtools #contentcreationtips #ugccreators #ugccreatortips #tiktokshop #wirelessmicrophone

♬ original sound – Luisa | UGC creator

A backdrop

If the background in your videos is too distracting, cover it up. You don’t necessarily need a blank sheet here — you can be creative by using fabrics or other materials as your backdrop.


Your UGC setup doesn’t have to cost you an arm & a leg. This backdrop cost me $24 & natural light is free. As you work with more brands, you can invest in more equipment, but I promise you, you don’t need all of the fancy creator tools you see on TikTok to create aesthetic content. Examples with this setup @charleneizere @charleneizere #contenttips #ugctips #ugcprops #contentcreationtips #ugcsetup #filmingsetup #aestheticcontent #aestheticvideotutorial #charleneizere #knoxvilletn #theinfluentialcreator #influentialcreator

♬ original sound – Charlene Izere | Creator Life


Depending on your niche and the type of UGC you create, props could be very important. For example, #BookTok videos just don’t look right without piles of books in the shot. Gather a few props that’ll help you look like you’re living the ideal lifestyle of your niche.

Step 3: Practice making UGC content

The first piece of content you create probably won’t be your best. Look at the content that you researched and try to recreate it. If you want to focus on photos, start learning the basics of photography, including how to properly light a shot and how to pose. If video is more your style, you’ll need to work on writing, memorizing, and delivering scripts. You’ll also need to study camera angles, transitions, and multimedia effects such as overlaid text and audio tracks.

No matter what format your content takes, here are some of the most common examples of UGC you should practice making:


Whether it’s a makeup tutorial or a video about how to build furniture, showing potential customers how to best use a product is incredibly valuable.


UGC video example for one of my favorite companies @grandecosmetics #ugcexample #ugcexamples #ugccommunity #ugccontentcreator #ugctips

♬ Glowing Sea – Muspace Lofi

Product reviews

93% of consumers look at reviews before buying something, so this kind of UGC is certainly one of the most in demand.


I’ve been trying to film one ugc example a day and I can already tell I’m getting better and better. Slowly switching out my boring porfolio videos. Also you guys need to try this @maybelline fit me concealer as a contour. It’s SO GOOD 🤌🏼 #ugc #ugcexample #ugcexamples #ugcexamplevideo #ugcexampleideas #ugcexamplevideos #ugcexample2023 #ugccreator #ugccreatorjourney

♬ original sound – Amanda | UGC Creator


Customers love having the chance to see what’s in the box before they purchase a product. Next time you receive a package, practice filming an unboxing video!

Step 4: Find your niche

Picking a niche may seem counter-intuitive at first. You may feel like you’re limiting yourself to only working with brands of a certain industry, but this step is important to your success as a UGC creator. By narrowing down to a niche, you can specialize in talking about certain products and get better at promoting them way faster.

You certainly don’t have to settle on a single niche at the very beginning of your UGC journey. Instead, try out a few different niches with the intent to pick one that you’re interested in.

Step 5: Build your UGC portfolio

After creating all that content as you practice, it’s time to build your UGC portfolio. Brands are unlikely to work with a UGC creator who can’t show them any examples of their previous work. That’s why creating a portfolio should be one of your top priorities after you’ve done your research and upgraded your setup.

It’s the old catch-22: You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. But in the case of becoming a UGC creator, you can — literally and figuratively — create your own job experience.

Once you’ve understood the basics of UGC, start creating samples. Focus on creating user-generated content about niches you’d like to work in, and make it your best work.

You can share your portfolio on your social media accounts, but you should also make it accessible online — either storing it on Google Drive or displaying it on your website — so you can easily share it with brands when they request it.


Let’s create a new ugc portfolio using Canva! This is a premade template from Canva so It’s beginner friendly, and all you need to do is drag and drop your information in and personalize it. Having a UGC portfolio is useful when it comes to pitching and securing deals, as it shows brands what you’re capable of. #ugcportfoliotips #ugcportfolioinspo #ugcportfoliowebsites #ugctipb#beginnerugccreator

♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K

Step 6: Pitch yourself to brands

Once you’ve built your UGC portfolio, start looking for brands to work with. When you’re just starting out as a UGC creator, brands aren’t going to come knocking on your door. Instead, you need to be proactive about reaching out to them.

Start by creating a list of brands you’re interested in working with, ideally keeping them in a spreadsheet. From there, you can sort them using a few qualifiers, like how likely they are to work with you, and how much you’d love to work with them. Find contact information for marketers or social media managers at those companies, and add it to your spreadsheet.

Once that’s done, work on an email or DM template for pitching yourself to brands. Introduce yourself, include a link to your portfolio, and mention why you want to work with them. Customize your message to different brands by using that template, send out a bunch of reach-outs, and use your spreadsheet to track who you’ve reached out to and who’s responded.

You can absolutely send all your emails at once, but sending out batches of 10-20 messages at a time is more manageable.


How to SUCCESSFULLY pitch a brand for UGC deals! It’s hard in the beginning when you’re first learning (I got tons of no-responses at first), but once you have the formula down and practice with different brands to see what resonates – you’re golden 🙂 #ugccreator #ugctips #ugcjourney #ugchowtostart #ugctips2023 #ugcpitchtips #ugcpitching

♬ Sunshine – WIRA

Step 7: Find opportunities on UGC creator platforms

Cold outreaches are tough. They don’t always have a high success rate, and seeing a bunch of your emails get ignored can be demoralizing. Luckily, some platforms are built specifically for creators looking for UGC opportunities. Here are some of the best ones:


The EASIEST way to find PAID UGC collaboration opportunities right now is on the @Brands Meet Creators platform – it’s sooo easy because you can filter via niche, brand budget, and demographic. BCM was one of the first platforms I signed up to in 2022 when I first started UGC and I 100% stand by it because ✅ they take 0% of any deals you secure ✅ it’s 100% free for brands AND creators to use ✅ there’s no middleman ✅ you can build direct relationships Comment below if you want to see my strategy to get more inbound brand requests! #ugccreator #ugctips #branddeals #influencertips

♬ Lavender Cappuccino – Muspace Lofi

How much do UGC creators make?

So, how much do UGC creators get paid? It really depends. Not all UGC creators are at the same stage of their careers, meaning that they don’t all make the same kind of money. Treat these estimates by influencer marketing platform LeaLi as reference points:

  • UGC creators with 10K followers can make $100 for a 60-second video.
  • UGC creators with 100K followers can make $500 for the same video.
  • Creators with 1M followers or more can earn as much as $2,500 per 60-second video.

With a little bit of research, you can also find many UGC creators on social media sharing how much they make. For example, TikTok user @lorraemarketing shared that she made $7,000 to $8,000 a month from making UGC.

She’s not alone in making more than enough to replace a full-time job. TikToker @eileenxyang shared that she made nearly $7,000 a month from making UGC.


wait i was trippin balz in my last vid cause i actually did hit $10k somehow 😃 this month was very dry tho since ive been in the homeland for the past few weeks 🥲 prob only made a couple hundred BUT THAS OKEY anyways YOU GUYS GOT THIS. i made some free guides for yall !! link in bio <3 #ugccreator #ugccontent #financetransparency #genzfinance #collegestudent #virginiatech #collegefinance #collegeentreprenueur #femaleentrepreneur

♬ Jazz Hip Hop in the early 90’s(219692) – TOKYO Lonesome Blue

Meanwhile, creator Layne Jordan said she could make up to $2,000 for a single video.


There’s more involved in the deal but just a psa if you’re not landing big deals yet you’ve got this! Reach out if you need any help along the way 💗 #ugc #contentcreator #ugccreator #ugcdeal #contentcreatorcanada #ugccanada

♬ original sound – Layne Jordan

So while there’s no single answer to this question, UGC creators who get into the swing of things have the potential to make thousands of dollars.

How much should I charge as a UGC creator?

Unfortunately, no two UGC creators are the same. That means there are no hard-and-fast rules you can use to determine how much you should charge for creating this kind of content. If you’ve already created sponsored posts for brands in the past, you can adapt your prices for UGC — usually going a bit lower.

If you’re a beginner and not sure where to start, you can take UGC creator and coach @thesamanthajd‘s advice and start at $200 per video.

You can also experiment. When you receive replies from brands, spend some time negotiating rates with them. If they ask you how much you’d charge, it’s a good idea to name a price that’s higher than what you think you can get. Creators have a tendency to undervalue themselves, so ask for what you believe you deserve. The worst that can happen is that the brand will say no, and that’s information you can use to set your rates in the future.

If brands offer you a price, try to negotiate on it. If they won’t budge, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth creating content at that price — and you can use this rate as a baseline to negotiate from in the future. Try bumping that price up the next time you speak with a brand.

You can also try setting an hourly rate you’d want to work at, estimating the number of hours you’ll need to create a single video, and using that number as a benchmark.

Is UGC creation a sustainable career?

UGC Creator User Generated Content Creators Products Influencers Brand Social Media Marketing

Yes and no. While many TikTok creators are claiming they’ve made thousands of dollars in just their first month creating UGC, this doesn’t guarantee that you will.

Brands Meet Creators, a platform that helps creators find UGC deals, recently released its UGC Pricing Industry Report, sharing data from applications it received between April and September 2022. With this data, the platform was able to calculate an average asking price for a single piece of UGC: $212.

Does earning $212 per video make for a sustainable career?

That depends. If you’re trying to make a full-time living as a UGC creator, with no other income streams, how many videos will you need to create to afford rent, food, and other necessities? If you wanted to make $50,000 a year, you’d have to make about 20 videos a month. Can you ensure you secure enough UGC deals every month, especially when you start out?

That’s not to say there isn’t money in making UGC. There absolutely is. And if you’re a skilled content creator, photographer, or videographer, you can totally take advantage of the current demand for UGC. If you’re just starting out, take on UGC jobs as a source of side income, but don’t think you can go all-in on UGC and immediately leave your 9-5.

Ultimately, if you choose to become a UGC creator, your income will be dependent on UGC deals. While demand for UGC is high now, a decrease in that demand could leave you struggling to make any income.

So if you want to be a well-paid creator, don’t focus entirely on UGC. Build up your content creation and editing skills, find your niche, and build your personal brand. Treat UGC as a way to bring in extra money, instead of the be-all and end-all of your creator career.

Start making money online!

Many creators who specialize in user-generated content got started in much the same way as other content creators. They worked on honing their skills, learned from their mistakes, and kept chasing opportunities. And while being a UGC creator may not be the big-shot career some TikTokers are making it out to be, it’s still a great way to make money — and to acquire skills that’ll serve you well no matter what the future holds.

Want to start getting paid as a creator? Get this free guide on 12 Ways To Make Your First $100 Online.

12 Ways to Make Your First $100 Online

Get inspiration and pro tips from a dozen creators who know how to make bank!


What is the job of a UGC creator?

A UGC creator specializes in creating UGC (user-generated content) that they sell to brands. Essentially, they get paid by brands to produce content of themselves using their products or services, as though they were a real customer. Why? It helps the brands sell more — 80% of consumers find UGC more valuable than photos by brands or retailers when deciding whether they’ll purchase something.

While video is the most common UGC format, UGC creators can also take photos, create written content like reviews, and more.

How do you become a UGC creator?

The path to becoming a UGC creator is very similar to that of becoming a content creator, but with one key difference. You don’t need to have a huge audience to be a successful UGC creator That’s because brands work with UGC creators solely for their content production, not for access to their audience.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to become a UGC creator:

1. Research brands and content

Before you even start creating content, you need to have an idea of what you’re going to do. Consume as much UGC content as you can, and figure out what works and what doesn’t. You can start researching brands you want to work with as well.

2. Invest in your filming equipment and setup

While UGC doesn’t require as high production value as traditional advertisements, you still need to make the content visually pleasing. Get a good camera, invest in a mic, set up a nice space with good lighting, and you’ll be good to go.

3. Practice making UGC content

You’ll want to get as much practice with making UGC as you can before you start reaching out to brands. Pick some products around your home and try making UGC for them. You may film a review, a how-to video, or an unboxing video to start!

4. Find your niche

By picking a niche to specialize in, you’ll get really good at making content for a specific type of product instead of being sort of good at a few things.

5. Build your UGC portfolio

To convince brands to work with you, you need to show them what you can do. The best way to do that is to build a UGC portfolio, so you can share examples of your work with a potential client.

6. Start pitching to brands

Brands aren’t going to come looking for you, especially when you’re just starting out. Make a list of brands you’d like to work with and start reaching out to a few of them every day. Do it consistently, and you’ll start getting offers in no time.

7. Find opportunities on UGC creator platforms

While pitching is one of the best ways to get work, there are platforms out there that help put UGC creators in touch with brands. Explore these platforms to find more UGC opportunities.

What are the best practices when reaching out to brands as a UGC creator?

Pitching isn’t easy, but it’s something you get better at over time. Your first pitch likely won’t get you that lucrative deal you’re hoping for, but it’ll get you to your second pitch, and your third, and so on. The more you pitch, the better your chances of getting UGC work.

Keep these tips in mind when reaching out to a brand:

  • Do your research: If whoever’s reading your email feels like you just plugged their name in a template, they’re not likely to write back. With just a bit of research, you can find a unique angle to make your pitch stand out.
  • Make your pitch relevant to them: When pitching, many creators focus exclusively on what they can bring to the table and how they’re going to do that. Instead, write about the brand’s needs and how you plan to meet them.
  • Don’t forget your UGC portfolio: It seems obvious but it bears repeating. How often have you forgotten to attach a file to an important email? Double-check that you’ve included your UGC portfolio, and make sure you’ve tailored it to that brand’s specific needs. You might only get one chance at making an impression

Follow The Leap on TikTokInstagram, and YouTube for more monetization tips for creators. We also make a newsletter.

Further reading

Nicholas Bouchard
About the author

Nicholas Bouchard

Nick Bouchard is a content writer and marketer with a passion for creation. His hobbies range from writing fiction to wrestling. He can only be photographed in national parks and on mountains, and pictures of him usually come out blurry. Some wonder if he even exists at all.
Follow us on tiktok