It seems like in this difficult economy brands are mugging creators off when it comes to what they’re paying for UGC (user generated content). As a result, creators are frustrated. 

Nevertheless, there are some creators encouraging others by saying that if you pitch yourself well, you can secure the dollar. 

Bousquet, who has 24,000 Instagram followers, usually charges a minimum of $300 to create a single UGC video for a brand.

“As a creator who has created high-quality content for brands for over five years, it’s a slap in the face to get an offer that barely even covers the cost of lunch,” she told Insider.

To clarify, there is a difference between sponsored content and UGC. Sponsored content is where an influencer posts a video on their own page featuring a brand’s product. UGC is where a brand literally casts a TikTok creator (who could have 1,000 followers or 100,000) to make a piece of content for the brand’s own page. 

Therefore, because it’s so easy to start pitching yourself as a UGC creator to brands, inexperienced new entrants have flooded the market, with some of them accepting very low fees.

“I personally have seen offers as low as $10 a video, which to a professional UGC creator would be insulting,” said Nicole Marks-Martinez, a creator coach who runs the social-media agency KoliMarksMedia.

The combination of TikTok’s success with the limitations imposed by the coronavirus — which made it difficult, if not impossible, to shoot professional marketing content — created the perfect storm for the rise of UGC. But this steep growth has left brands and creators without a blueprint for payment structures, and generated a “free-for-all” on both sides, according to content marketer and creator Jayde Powell.

When they offer low rates, they underestimate the time and skill required to create content, and assume that high fees are only justified when creators have big audiences.

To be fully honest, it would be clumsy for a brand to pay so little for UGC as they’re really not guaranteed to produce engaging content. “Newbies are happy to accept any form of payment, since this is their first time getting a yes,” Marks-Martinez said. “What does this mean for experienced creators who offer valuable, engaging, high quality content? Brands are laughing in our faces when we send our rates.” 

When pitching their services to brands for the first time, creators should already have a portfolio of content to showcase, and ideally be able to prove that they can drive good ROI for brands.

“A great way to do this as a beginner creator is to use affiliate links and promote products to drive clicks,” Marks-Martinez said. The proven ROI can be used as a leverage to charge higher rates.

“If you have a really great portfolio or you have a creative concept that can justify the task, most brands are fairly flexible,” said Reagan Baylee, a fashion and beauty creator who has also been creating UGC for a year.

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