It’s true – you can make money with UGC easily
Here it is! The step by step guide to make money with user generated content, or UGC. User generated content (in this context) refers to pictures and videos people create for brands. The brands agree to pay a creator (you!) for pictures or videos of their product that you produce for them. It is that simple to make money with UGC, but it isn’t easy. You have to put in the time and work to get gigs! If that wasn’t enough explanation, or you landed here with no idea what UGC is, check out this post that explains more about it! Making money with UGC without a social following is totally possible! There’s a difference between how you’ll approach it compared to a content creator/influencer. Even with existing creators, the method for someone with a smaller following can look different than someone with a large following.
You don’t need a social following to make money with UGC
That’s right, you can make money with UGC without a large account. In fact, you don’t necessarily need a social media channel to get into UGC at all. It does help to be on the platform you’ll create content for, but it isn’t totally necessary. If you don’t want to be on social media, we still do recommend you set up a portfolio based page to message brands from. Many brands communicate on social media, especially the “low hanging fruit” which I’ll share at the end of this post. Trust me, you want to see the rest before getting there because you’ll be inspired to get started right now! But you need to do this one step at a time, so read on friend. All you need, I repeat ALL you need to get started is a newer smartphone, a portfolio and an email address.
Portfolio pro tip – take great pics!
Follow the rule of thirds with your photography when trying to make money with UGC! Also, make sure to adjust your angle to avoid glare on the product or label. If you have a tripod, please use it or MacGyver one out of things on hand. Your photos will be so much clearer and more crisp with a tripod. I even go as far as setting the three second timer so that the slight shake of when I touch the shutter is minimized. If you don’t have a tripod or can’t figure a way to prop up your phone at the right angle, lock your elbows to your sides and hold your phone in front of you. This makes your body into a tripod and stabilizes your camera more than holding it out with one arm. You can lean on a surface and do the same thing with your elbows.
Make sure to relax when taking the photo to keep it stable regardless of your method. The level up is of course to get a tripod, and we suggest you do that ASAP. However, as mentioned it’s not required. Tripods are really cheap on Amazon so if you can invest into this business right away, here’s the best budget friendly one we suggest you get. It’s not just us either, there are nearly 85,000 5 star reviews for this and it’s always under $20 whenever I’ve checked. As of now, it’s $14.99 and on Prime 2 day. Ok, now that you know all of that, here are the three steps to get your UGC side hustle going!
Step one – build your portfolio
This is easier than it sounds, and is the first step to make money with user generated content without a large account. First, gather up the brand name items around your home, anything you have that clearly shows who manufactured it. Toiletries like face wash, hair products, or makeup, food containers like cereal boxes, coffee canisters, or tea. Set them up in direct sunlight on a neutral background, this can be your countertop or a table (if it’s not clean or neutral looking, cover it with something that is) and start taking pictures! Once you have some great pics, put them in a Google or Dropbox shared folder and allow access to anyone with the link. This is what you send to brands when you pitch them your services
Step two – write a great UGC pitch
A perfect pitch sandwiches three things briefly – the compliment, your value/your offer, and the ask. Start with a compliment about their brand or product. This can be that you love their products, or you love their online branding (if you’ve just learned of them). After a compliment, write a few short sentences introducing yourself and your offer. Expand on what you do and why. For example, you offer product photography/videography to provide brands with UGC for their social media, advertising and online needs. Close with an ask for them to reply with how you can work together, and include a link to examples of your work (your portfolio). Don’t include rates at this point, get the convo started without too much pressure!
Step three – start pitching!
Awesome, you’re ready to start pitching! You can’t make money with user generated content if those who will pay for it don’t know you exist. In the beginning, they won’t know unless you reach out. Send your pitch to as many brands as you can and be attentive when they reply! Remember, the person on the other end of that email is usually an employee with a job to do and a budget to follow. Marketing budgets typically include allowances for whatever the company decides to spend on, and it may or may not be UGC so don’t get discouraged! You can email them or send DMs on the social media platform you’re on. If you can’t find a PR/marketing email on their website, just reach out to the general email. The trick is reaching out to many different brands, and regularly.
Bonus: target the low hanging fruit first
The low hanging fruit to make money with user generated content is with Amazon sellers. Yes, Amazon sellers! They are an untapped market in my opinion, and if you can fully share the value of UGC to them, there are many opportunities! Amazon sellers tend to dropship items from larger wholesale sites (like AliExpress) and put their own label on them. This leads to many of the Amazon storefronts selling the same products under different names, with the same stock images. Storefronts can stand out with UGC by showing the product in use on a person or in a natural looking home. Many times the brands will supply you with the products they want UGC for, and you’ll keep them plus get paid for your work.
Have you worked with brands on UGC before? Let us know your thoughts! Also, make sure to check out the top 30 platforms for paid campaigns, some of which have UGC offers!