How to Create UGC That Brands Will Love

Alex Fedorenko
Alex Fedorenko
Managing Partner & Co-Founder at Insense
Insense is a marketplace to collaborate with creators for UGC, posting, and whitelisted ads. 
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Influencer marketing is on the rise as brands are starting to recognize that original content is a key element in advertising. The majority of brands (59%) now have the budget for content marketing, and 75% of them plan to have a separate budget for influencer marketing this 2022 as well.

What does this mean for content creators like you? Brands are more inclined to work with you.

They are always on the lookout for the next batch of User-Generated Content (UGC). They share UGCs on their social media accounts and even use them as paid social advertising assets. That’s because UGC generates 5x more click-through rates

Brands prefer UGC that feels authentic—content that doesn’t come off as scripted and doesn’t look or feel like an ad. 

However, many creators still fail to produce UGCs that brands are looking for. In fact, 22% of brands find it challenging to find the right influencers for their industry. So when content creators successfully churn out amazing UGCs, brands keep them close.

But what makes UGC videos high-quality? What makes a UGC stand out from other UGCs? How can you make your content in a way that brands would always prefer collaborating with you? 

The niche of top preferred creators is still not oversaturated. This means that it’s the perfect time for you as a creator to improve the quality of your UGC content so brands pick you over and over again. 

We’ll give you a rundown of everything you need to know—from video tips to collaboration etiquette—so you can create UGCs that are sure to get noticed. 

The Basics of UGC Video Production Explained

UGC videos don’t have to look like they were produced by professionals. When it comes to quality, UGC videos may not be at par with professional studio standards, but this is what actually makes them more effective. Since they don’t look like ads, they come across as more authentic and personal. 

Nevertheless, content creators should still put in the effort. 

For brands to love your UGC videos, they should be aesthetically marketable. Video production basics may seem obvious, but these are still important and often overlooked. Here are some best practices for UGC video production.

Use proper lighting

Lighting is a very crucial part of any video. It allows you to set the mood, establish the vibe, and help the watcher focus on where you want them to. The good news is, you don’t have to be a professional and you don’t have to spend a huge chunk of money to get great lighting.

Insense's Instagram post using UGC static image
  • Use natural light as much as you can because it’s simply the best. Try to record near a window or even outdoors. If the sunlight is too harsh, you can use a sheer white curtain or a semi-transparent shower curtain to soften the light a bit. 
  • Use two lamps when shooting in the dark. The challenge with night-time filming is the lack of natural light. As a workaround, you can set up one lamp on your right and one on your left. Try to arrange them so that they are positioned just above your eye line at a 45-degree angle. By doing so, you’re removing the shadows on your face and ensuring that your lighting is even while you shoot your video.
  • Set up a ring light. A small ring light can already make a huge difference. Make sure the ring light is positioned right behind your camera. Adjust both the light and the camera so that they are in line with your face. This will give you the best outcome. 

Make sure your background is pleasing

Your background also plays a big role in ensuring your UGC video is high-quality while remaining authentic. Here’s a quick guide on setting up and styling your video background. 

Insense's Instagram post using UGC static image
  • Choose a clean background. A messy or distracting background pulls away from the video’s focus. Choose a solid-colored wall or a plain bedsheet. 
  • Remove distracting props. Aside from the wall, there should be nothing in your background that might take away attention from you. For example, having a lot of photos in the background dilutes the focus on you. Not only do busy backgrounds throw off the viewers, but they are also not easy on the eyes. 
  • Accents are welcome! Some creators prefer a more decorative direction than just a plain background. To achieve this without going overboard, you can put up a poster or a painting and only show a corner of it in the video frame. You can also opt to show subtle hints of your bookshelves or other props—just enough to have background accents. 

Clean your phone camera lens regularly

With the mobile phones of today boasting of high-end specs, a lot of content creators use their phones to film their UGC videos.

iphone camera

Since you take your phones with you almost everywhere, the lens is exposed to dust, vulnerable to scratches, and probably have your fingerprints all over them. 

These all affect the quality of photos and videos. As a content creator, it’s a must for you to take care of your equipment and this includes making sure that your phone camera lens is always clean. 

Before you shoot, make sure to do these.

  • Use a microfiber cloth to wipe off dust, sand, and fingerprints. Don’t use toilet paper or tissue because they can leave scratches. Microfiber, on the other hand, doesn’t leave lint or residues.
  • Clean the corners of the glass by folding the microfiber cloth into a triangle.
  • Don’t forget to wipe the flash near the lens. A dirty light reduces brightness.
  • Don’t use soap or alcohol to clean your lens because they will end up damaging the lens.

How to Create UGC That Looks and Feels Authentic

In the digital advertising world, it’s the authentic content that stands out. 

Interestingly, 31% of consumers said that UGC ads were more memorable compared to traditional ads.

This is why brands are desperately looking for UGC that can deliver the authentic vibe successfully. These are content that are: 100% natural and do not feel manufactured. They feel like organic posts because they are intentionally produced according to the specifications of the different platforms they will be posted in.

These are some examples of the UGC we like best. They look really good and have an authentic feel because of the content creators’ rawness in the photos. They feel relatable and genuine.

Insense's Instagram post using UGC static image
Insense's Instagram post using UGC static image

The idea of authentic UGC may seem simple, but it remains hardly achievable by a lot of creators. If you can achieve this authentic feel that brands love, you will be an in-demand content creator.

Follow this breakdown of best practices designed to help content creators in this quest.

  1. Study the brief provided to you. If it’s not specified in the brief, ask questions to have more context.
  2. Get an in-depth understanding of the brand’s product and target audience. Doing so helps you create a video that appeals to the brand’s target audience, highlights things that are important to them, and shows them why they should care. 
  3. Only work with brands that you genuinely relate to and products that match your lifestyle and preference. If you love makeup, go for makeup products. If you don’t smoke, don’t dabble into UGCs for the vape industry.
  4. Try out the product first and explore it before you shoot the video.
  5. Avoid scripts as much as possible so it comes out naturally. If you keep making mistakes, then try to go again. Make sure to record every rehearsal attempt—one might be successful. Also, those bloopers are great for behind-the-scenes videos later on.
  6. Don’t be afraid to inject some of your creativity from time to time. Enjoy the process!

What Else is Vital in Becoming a High-Quality Content Creator?

Aside from churning out high-quality UGC, content creators must be organized, responsible, and reliable. Check out these tips for working with brands

If brands love the UGC that you create and admire your work ethic, you may be looking at a long-term partnership. 

Of the many important factors to consider when working with brands, these are the 3 most vital ones: 

Brands prefer content creators who nail the brief right away

When brands order UGC from creators or influencers, they provide a brief detailing what they want to achieve. As a content creator, you must read, study, and understand the briefs provided. When you provide a high-quality UGC that follows the brief, this will save everyone from spending extra time making multiple revisions.

What should you look out for in the brief? Most briefs provide you with different guidelines specific to the scenario that the brand is looking for.

Examples would be:

  • Show the product for the duration of the whole video
  • Say a particular phrase 
  • Add captions
  • Wear a specific color or article of clothing
  • Avoid certain phrases or words
  • Mention specific features and talking points
  • Follow a recommended video length
  • Direct users to a specific link and use a specific CTA

If you don’t see these in the brief and you feel unsure how to approach the UGC, don’t hesitate to reach out. Brands love working with proactive creators. It shows that you genuinely care about their brand and product. 

Don’t be afraid to suggest ideas as well, but make sure to ask them before you start making the video. As mentioned, the beauty of UGC lies in its authenticity—but the final output has to be in line with the brand’s brief and goals.

Follow the technical requirements

Some brands will also give technical requirements like shooting the video in HD. You must comply with them to ensure that the UGC is high-quality and is following the brand’s guidelines. 

Here are some examples of technical requirements usually included in briefs:

  • The specific type of file of the final output (.mp4, .wmv, etc.)
  • Recommended file size of the final video
  • Preferred equipment for the shoot (like specific brands and models of cameras or mobile phones)
  • Required aspect ratios since these differ depending on the platform
  • Specific special effects or transitions the brand would like to include

If, for any reason, you cannot meet the technical specifications, let the coordinator know right away. You wouldn’t want to proceed with creating the content, only for them to reject it at the end just because it did not meet the technical requirements.

It also pays to invest in quality equipment. Investing in your craft will continue to open up opportunities for you to work with multiple brands. Plus, having good equipment will level up the quality of your UGC videos as well as allow you to produce UGC at scale. 

Meet the deadlines

Content creation is now a whole industry by itself. Whether it’s the brand who approached you, or you volunteered to do it, or if an influencer platform like Insense reached out to you... there’s one thing you should remember. 

This is business, and you are expected to be professional—submit your content on or before the deadline.
If you can’t make it on time, be responsive in communicating with the coordinator. Remember that it's a collaboration and a partnership. You should do your part to help fuel the brand’s success.

Organize your calendars and make sure you don’t miss a critical touchpoint. Be easily accessible in case there are some updates on the brief, or in case the brand would have some feedback. 

Be the content creator that brands would die to work with

In today’s digital world, you have the chance to work with brands to promote services, products, and causes you believe in. Plus, brands tend to work with their preferred influencers across various campaigns. That is if you can get their attention.

As a content creator, it’s challenging to stand out from the sea of global creators. To be a sought-after UGC creator, you must be able to create irresistible, on-point, and effective UGC. 

A content creator who is professional, creative, and brief-oriented, is a content creator who will be in demand. 

Hopefully, this guide will up your influencer game so you stand out. If you’d like to hear more tips on how to stand out, you can attend this demonstration by Insense on content creators’ do’s and don’ts. 

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Alex Fedorenko

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