What is a UGC Creator and how can your company connect with them

Updated on: June 7, 2024

Marketing studies consistently point to one undeniable truth—people prefer to view promotional messaging crafted by their peers rather than polished corporate content.

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any form of content—including videos, photos, and audio—created and shared by individuals online or in print. In turn, the messaging resonates with a personable touch, fostering authenticity and building trust with consumers.

So what is a UGC creator? It can be customers who share their perspectives voluntarily using avenues like Google My Business reviews, community forums, or social posts created without a brand’s involvement. However, a UGC creator can also be someone with whom a company has a direct transactional relationship, wherein they receive compensation such as money or goods for brand content. Depending on the specifics of the arrangement, the creator may either retain ownership and publishing rights of the content or the brand account may control its usage and distribution.

For the sake of this specific article, we’ll focus on UGC creators who have formalized brand deals and how they can serve companies’ overall marketing strategy. 

While most companies understand the allure and power of user-generated content (UGC), they often struggle to identify and connect with suitable sources. We’ll explore how to partner with creators to get UGC aligned with your brand account and goals. Additionally, for individuals interested in starting to create content, we’ll discuss how to improve your overall appeal and short-cuts to reaching out to brands. 

What do UGC creators do?

As every marketer knows, a good promotional strategy incorporates diverse tactics that support one another. UGC creators round out marketing plans by humanizing the messaging in ways otherwise inaccessible to brands. 

When companies entrust the right strategy to the right content creators, marketing magic can happen. The UGC video not only heightens product transparency but also cultivates emotional connections between brands and customers, all of which influences purchasing decisions.

So, what exactly do UGC creators do? In essence, they offer their unique perspective on products or services, presenting them through their own lens and articulated in their own voice. 

UGC creators can show off your products

Newsflash—people view highly polished promotional videos with skepticism. However, content shot by people to whom viewers can relate will add a layer of authenticity as they can see the products “in the wild” rather than in a heavily controlled video shoot.

When you’ve hired a creator to talk about your project, you don’t have to worry about a critical review like the one we have on the left about Humane AI pin. 

UGC creators can educate and inspire

UGC creators are the perfect representatives to show off fun, unexpected ways to use your products. Whether crafting sumptuous recipes, styling items in unconventional manners, or reimagining your services, they possess the ability to both inspire and enlighten viewers on optimizing product utilization and enhancing satisfaction.

UGC creators can underscore your brand’s messaging

Is your brand lighthearted? Authoritative? Edgy? Sophisticated? Partnering with the right UGC creators can underscore your brand identity while adding a layer of authenticity. For instance, in this UGC video from Chewy, their products are never explicitly mentioned; instead, the focus remains on content that highlights their genuine love for pets, delivering viewers precisely what they desire—adorable dog videos!

For more examples of what UGC creators can do for your brand, click here.

What UGC creators are not? Influencers

Anyone hoping to jumpstart a career as a UGC creator will be relieved to know that they aren’t expected to be an influencer with thousands upon thousands of followers. After all, the primary service you provide to brands is your voice and creativity rather than a small army of passionate fans. For aspiring UGC creators, this means they could start their career in a matter of days rather than having to delay it for months or years.
 
The distinction between UGC creators and influencers also benefits companies. Not only do UGC rates tend to be lower, but they also tend to grant fuller control to the brands. Some influencers are especially mindful of their carefully cultivated image and satisfying their supporters, and may want extra creative control over the collaboration. Additionally, many will limit the ownership and usage rights of the produced content. 
 
In comparison, UGC creators like those found on CIPIO.ai grant full ownership to brands, enabling them to deploy the videos however their video content strategy dictates.
 

How to start creating UGC as a brand

Defining your UGC content goals

So, now that we’ve established what a UGC creator is, let’s detail how to strategically integrate them into your marketing approach. Begin by outlining your objectives for the content. Whether your aim is to enhance brand visibility, increase conversions, or cultivate community engagement, defining clear goals will serve as the foundation for your strategy.
 

Profile your ideal UGC creator

Identify your target audience and envision the type of content they’re likely to create. Understand their interests, preferences, and behavior to better tailor your UGC initiatives to resonate with them.
 

Find the right approach for creating UGC at scale

Brands have essentially three options for creating content:
 
  • Manually facilitating UGC creators – This solution limits the upfront costs of purchasing a software or enlisting an agency, but is not sustainable. After all, tracking existing relationships and scouting for new connections will prove time-consuming and prone to human error. Plus, operational tasks like drafting contracts may require enlisting the help of a legal professional. 
 
  • Utilizing a platform – Tools like CIPIO.ai streamline the process of managing UGC creators by semi-automating and centralizing various functions. Creator acquisition, payments, performance analysis, and video editing are all facilitated within a single, AI-powered platform. Plus, users can leverage existing contract and UGC content brief templates, reducing upfront work. 
 
  • Enroll the help of an agency – Agencies not only manage UGC creator relationships on your behalf, but also help shape the driving strategy. Though potentially the most costly solution for creating content, it could be ideal for teams inexperienced with generating social proof or who are simply stretched thin. If you’re still familiarizing yourself with what a UGC creator is, this may be the quickest way to ensure a strong ROI while simultaneously receiving a crash course in effective content management. 
 

Tips for partnering with UGC creators

Managing UGC creators means more than simply sending them products. To maximize the likelihood of success, make sure to do the following:

  • Provide specific directions to UGC creators – Are there specific buzz words creators should use (or avoid)? A special way they should display or use the products? The clearer your expectations are, the more likely the UGC creator is to deliver! 
 
  • Don’t micromanage to the point of stifling their voice – Keep in mind that UGC creators are not meant to be polished spokespeople, but rather authentic individuals. Encourage them to infuse their own uniqueness and creativity into the content!
 
  • Don’t be afraid to try new approaches and new voices – Sure, one demographic and content narrative may work well, but how do you know that there’s not another UGC approach that is even better? Don’t shy away from new ideas, because even content that initially underperforms can offer valuable insights when paired with proper analysis, bringing us to our next point…
 
  • Refine your strategy through ongoing performance analysis – As your UGC creator network produces more videos, you’ll accumulate valuable data. Tools like CIPIO.ai can help you extract insights to inform hypotheses. Do your viewers prefer videos featuring women or men? Does demonstrating products in a certain manner boost engagement? Does a particular call-to-action resonate above all others? Utilize this analysis to fine-tune your UGC strategy and guide content creators accordingly.
 

How to become a successful UGC creator

The decision to become a UGC creator marks just the beginning of your journey. To increase your chances of securing brand deals, it’s crucial to understand what being a UGC creator means and then incorporate the following strategies:

  • Invest in quality equipment – Arm yourself with tools that match the demands of your content creation goals, including a high-resolution camera, specialized lighting, and audio equipment. The equipment demands of someone cooking in their kitchen will vary greatly from a UGC creator focused on travel, so research and plan accordingly! 
 
  • Practice your skills and build an example portfolio – Consistent practice not only sharpens your abilities but also allows you to accumulate the beginnings of a UGC content portfolio. Watch others’ footage to see what you like and don’t like, as well as experiment with different types of content—you may find that you excel in some arenas more than others.
 
  • Define your personal brand – It’s time to put on your marketing hat and think about the target audiences with whom you’d naturally connect. Don’t only consider your general demographics and looks, but also where your passions lie. Are you a gen-X fashionista who loves classic style? An athletic gen-Z who is passionate about gym equipment and healthy eating? Establishing and consistently portraying your persona through your UGC content not only enhances your appeal to relevant brands but also elevates the authenticity and quality of your videos. 
 
  • Join a platform like CIPIO.ai – CIPIO.ai is the crossroads between UGC creators and the companies eager to provide brand deals. Tell us about yourself, and then we’ll enter you into our database that brands use to find up-and-coming talent that aligns with their marketing plan. Think of it like a dating platform—everyone is on the site for the same reason, which is to connect! Soon, you may have companies reaching out to you rather than vice versa. 
 


Arranging payment between brands and UGC creators

So, now that UGC creators and brand accounts have found one another, the next set of questions often discuss payment. Valuable points for both creators and companies to know include:

  • Payment to creators can come in the form of money, as well as products or store credits

 

  • In regards to fair pricing for UGC videos, factors include the specific industry, video length and type, whether the creator will share the content with their network, and their overall experience and follower-count. We encourage both creators and brands to use tools like CIPIO.ai to view asking prices to better understand appropriate rates. 

 

  • As relationships bloom between UGC creators and brands, it’s common for them to formalize relationships. Often, companies will want to bundle multiple videos into a single package—this may lower the cost-per-video for the brand while creators receive guaranteed work, making this arrangement a win-win.

 

Above all else, it’s crucial that expectations, content ownership, and payment terms be clear from the very beginning of the engagement. With CIPIO.ai, both participating UGC creators and brands have an established understanding that the brands will retain full rights to the content, helping forego complicated negotiation terms in that regard. 

 

Work with CIPIO.ai — the ultimate bridge between brands & creators

CIPIO.ai offers comprehensive managed services and an end-to-end platform solution for UGC videos, uniquely catering to marketers’ needs. With a focus on talent acquisition and ad optimization, our platform harnesses the latest in machine-learning technology to enhance efficiency and performance. Paired with our optional managed services, we serve as your ultimate collaborator, assisting with crafting ad campaigns, analyzing engagement data, and mapping out future strategies. Contact us today to explore our managed services or try our UGC Marketplace for free to discover influencers aligned with your brand vision.

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