Dietitian UGC Creator

Today I sit down with Dietitian UGC Creator Anna Kalfayan, and she wants to tell you how you can get into UGC too.

Season 3 Episode 37: Dietitian UGC Creator ft. Anna Kalfayan, RD

Hey RD, if you:

  • Love marketing 
  • Have always wanted to work with brands 
  • Have no followers (and you are not an influencer)

You NEED to listen to this episode. 

Anna Kalfayan is a Cali based Dietitian UGC Creator and she teaches you what UGC is, how to pitch yourself, how to make a portfolio, and what to charge. If you want more help breaking into this booming area of marketing send her a message! 

You can get in touch with Anna here: 
Website – Anna Kalfayan UGC 
Instagram –  @wellnessUGC
TikTok – @wellnessUGC

If you want to learn more about UGC I suggest checking out this Youtube tutorial (done by a non-RD ). I have shared it with a few other RDs and they said it was helpful. 

Did you miss last week’s episode? You can listen to it here: Get To Know Donut Season Creator Miranda Reagan! 

Full transcript:

Julia: 1:30

Welcome to the show anna. It’s so great to have you here. I’m really excited to hear about your experiences with U GC. Did you wanna say hi to the listen?

Anna: 1:39

Yes. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for having me on Julia. I’m super excited to be here. yeah, I can’t wait to get started.

Julia: 1:47

Cool. And I like to start off the show by asking a guest to give a brief summary of your RD experience or RD professional path so far. Maybe jobs you’ve had, or when you became a dietitian. Cuz I find a lot of people vary in their answers to that.

Anna: 2:02

Yeah. So mine’s a little bit interesting because I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do right when I finished with my internship. And I just kind of said, you know, I’m gonna give myself some time to grow my own business. I found out about U GC pretty organically, and I kind of just went from there. So I am a new dietitian. I got my credential in May, so I really went right out of the gate and chose to do freelance right away.

Julia: 2:36

Oh my God. That is so badass. Good for you. You you are so cool. You are way cooler than I was when I first became a dietitian. That’s awesome Anna. I think we should drop the veil and explain to listeners what UGC is, because I don’t know if a lot of listeners will know. So can you define it? Can you explain your experiences with it so far?

Anna: 2:57

Yeah, of course. So UGC is a newer way to think about content. It stands for user generated content. And I think a lot of the time people think content is just photography, but it can be video, it can be writing. There’s so many ways to think about content. And really what user generated content means is it’s consumer to consumer content. So instead of a brand marketing a product, which is traditionally how marketing works, um, The customer will market the product and actually give more of a review of how they like the product. It’s a more organic and authentic way to market products.

Julia: 3:48

And an opportunity to be way more inclusive within a brand. We like to see people who we recognize, people who we can connect with. So it’s a very genius marketing tool that is already taken off, but I think it’s actually very early stages. So it’s a very exciting time to be coming, to be becoming a U GC creator. I’m losing my words cuz I’m getting too excited in my brain.

But yeah, great points. I like that you showcase also all the different ways that you can be a UGC creator, because I think video is quite popular, but it’s not the be all end all, like you said, photography also and different stuff, so let’s break into it. So how did you first get started with UGC?

Anna: 4:25

I first heard about UGC on TikTok. And then from there, I kind of learned that there was a huge UGC community on Twitter. So I went to Twitter, I just started adding different people who had UGC in their handle and started following hashtag UGC creator and I was shocked. There so many people on there, they were, you know, breaking everything down step by step, you know, how they got started, how they were doing outreach. And I got to know a lot of people through Twitter. Um, I didn’t have a Twitter before that. So yeah, that’s really where I got started and how I learned about UGC and was able to find different resources.

Julia: 5:13

Yeah. And a community to help you out, which is so key. And then I think also a big part of UGC and you can correct me if I’m wrong, cause you have more experience in this than I do, the appeal also for creative minded folk is that they can work with brands without necessarily being an influencer themselves because you don’t necessarily post the content onto your page, right? Like very often, yes. You give that material to the brand you’re working with and they use that marketing on their.

Anna: 5:39

Yes. That’s 100% true. And that’s really something that’s super important to mention because yeah, you, I mean, yes, technically your face might be in the content, but it’s not going anywhere on your social media channels. It’s just being used by the actual brand.

Julia: 6:00

It gives the rest of us who maybe don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers a chance to work with brands and kind of get that experience. Who doesn’t want products sent their way. especially good quality products that you can get creative and yes do videos on. Okay. Awesome.

Anna: 6:13

Followers don’t matter.

Julia: 6:14

Well said. I’m very curious to hear about projects that you’ve done in.

Anna: 6:19

Yes. The first project that I did was urban remedy. It’s basically a grab and go healthy food, like snacks they do salads. They’re in my local whole foods. I did a beach picnic video for them, which was super fun.

I showed myself grocery shopping then taking it to the beach, using the product. And that’s really what UGC is about is just showing how you use the products.

Another one that I did was for E Cora, which was really interesting. I had actually been using their product for a really long time, but they do UTI supplements and, they’re a local business here in San Diego and they needed content. So I created a morning routine video using their supplements.

Um, and then, yeah, I have some other stuff in the works, a cookie brand, um, I’m gonna be doing some videos for their really high quality ingredients and yeah. Hydration company. So it’s really. Like the sky is the limit. You can work with a lot of different brands and different niches. It’s just really where you want to place yourself and, you know, kind of the products that you want to be showcasing. So.

Julia: 7:47

What is your process like? And if you could like give us many details here, please take the lead and just, I think users are probably very curious, you know, from step one to the finished product, what goes on there?

Anna: 7:58

Okay. So it is a little bit of a longwinded answer because, um, there’s so many different things that go into it before you even start recording the video. So first a huge part of UGC is reaching out to brands and spending a lot of time, you know, crafting the perfect outreach email. And really just getting a hold of people is really difficult.

You know, sometimes people don’t respond to the email or you’re not reaching out to the right marketing person. So you know, you have to look at different avenues. Typically I go through Instagram DMS, and then I find, or I find the press email for a brand. So it really takes time to kind of get the ball rolling. You won’t get a response. So you have to follow up. There were days where I was emailing 20 brands a day and not hearing back from any of them. You just gotta keep knocking and trying different avenues to get ahold of people and, you know, eventually you’ll get responses.

You go through that and then you start going back and forth with a brand and then contract gets in place. Um, you decide on how many videos they want, what they want. Go through a creative brief with them, where they tell you, um, you know, what value propositions they want you to include in the video. And. Exactly. You know what they’re looking for?

Julia: 9:36

Can you, sorry, can I, can I interrupt really fast, Anna? What is a value proposition?

Anna: 9:40

Oh yes. Okay. So a value proposition is the highlights of the product.

Julia: 9:44

Okay. Gotcha.

Anna: 9:46

Yeah. So for example, the hydration company that I’m gonna be working for their product has no added sugar. That’s a value proposition that they want me to include in the video, and I’ll include it in the audio.

Julia: 10:00


Anna: 10:01

They just wanna make sure you hit all those key points. We go through and I brainstorm and then tell them, Hey, this is what I’m thinking. Does this align and then I start the, um, shot by shot process. I don’t have a good name for it, but basically what I do is I think, you know, shot by shot.

I’m gonna get turning on the shower, I’m going to get myself walking out of the door pouring the product into the cup. Really planning out every single shot because in U GC, you are the director, the editor, the stylist. So you really have to think about lighting and all that stuff.

I typically record everything in one day and then I edit. I use cap cut to edit, that’s just an app I use on my phone. Um, I do everything on my phone. I don’t know if that’s the best way to do it I just find that it’s easiest for me. And then I record the audio if I need to record audio. Sometimes I will use a trending sound if they don’t want a voiceover. And then after that, I will send it to them. Ask for feedback, see if there’s any changes that they would like me to make and then it’ll get posted or they will, you know, post it whenever they need to post it. And yeah, that’s pretty much it

Julia: 11:28

I love that you also gave really helpful tips specifically about who to outreach. Cuz I agree. It’s very similar. I’m a freelance writer by trade, like writing a beautiful pitch is one thing and then sending it to the right person who’s actually supposed to be reading. It is other side of the equation that’s essential. So I wrote down here that you mentioned the press email, so that’s where most people should be aiming for at first or the Instagram DMS. Like you mentioned too, depending on the brand, I guess where they’re more active.

Anna: 11:55

Yeah. And it’s surprising, some people will get back to you on Instagram, DM super quickly and then, you know, some brands won’t. You have to mess around with the different avenues cuz it’s not the same for every brand. So yeah. Usually it’s press at the brand name. I find, I mean, if you’re willing to formula hack. Yeah. Like. Totally can work so generic. It works.

Julia: 12:19

Yeah. That makes total sense. And I had a question about. Oh my gosh, I forgot it again. Sorry. My brain is slipping that’s okay. I’ll remember. And we’ll come back to it.

Anna: 12:30


Julia: 12:30

Do you have a dream brand that you would love to work with or top three, even?

Anna: 12:35

Um, yeah, so I would say probably at top of mind is whole foods. I would love to work, you know, for they’re just nationally recognized and they carry a lot of the brands that I really enjoy using. Yeah, I would say that’s probably my, my. Number one goal is to work with them.

Julia: 13:00

That’s awesome. And like, realistically, also they have money so they can pay you.

Anna: 13:06

Right. Yes.

Julia: 13:06

And that’s not to sound greedy or anything. Like that’s a reality. If you wanna work with clients, you need to make sure they have a budget to pay you for, unless you’re willing to do it pro bono. Right. Then that’s a different story. That was a really awakening moment cuz some of the people I used to wanna work for, they do a lot of good stuff, but it’s a non-for-profit or something, you know, like if you want to actually be compensated you need to target people who have budgets. So whole foods makes total sense and so many options there. Great to see a dietitian in there.

Anna: 13:32

Yes. And that’s a really important point and something I probably should have mentioned in the last question because, uh, Really looking at the brands. I do kind of pay attention to the amount of followers because it gives me an idea of what their marketing budget is.

Julia: 13:50


Anna: 13:50

Typically a higher following will have a higher budget, you know? Who wants to work with you, and will be able to fund this kind of thing there. There has to be some sort of budget.

Julia: 14:03

Yeah. It’s like a little checklist when you start being serious about your clients, because you’re right. If you’re spending all day and I have totally been in that boat, sending 20 pitches out to somebody. You wanna make sure that they at least have a potential to pay you. Right. It’s so painful when I look back and I’ve totally done this and I’m just like, oh my God, those people haven’t made a post in five months. Clearly their marketing budget is flat, what was I thinking?

Anna: 14:24

Right, right. Yes.

Julia: 14:26

Yeah. Lessons learned. And, you know what I remember now, what I was gonna ask you. And it was kind of obvious I’m embarrassed. I forgot it. But when you are crafting your pitch, uh, to the press team or, or the marketing team, what are you including in there?

Anna: 14:41

So I’ve tested a few different things and see what I get more responses back to. I wish I had a software that could tell me exactly what’s working and what’s not working. I started in my pitch email saying, let’s make your next viral video or something about like viral content. So it would kind of catch.

Julia: 15:01

Using that language they love, of course.

Anna: 15:03

Mm-hmm yes, because like, who doesn’t want a viral video on their TikTok. Using hooky words like that and really making everything concise. When I first started pitching, I was writing Probably a 10 sentence email, and I’ve really cut it down to almost four, maybe five sentences. Um, and then not actually adding my link to my portfolio in the first email. First gauging if there’s interest and then once I hear back and get a response and say, if you’re interested in working with me, I’d love to send over my portfolio. Okay. So then in the second email, I will attach the portfolio and send that over to them.

Julia: 15:50

So helpful. Thank you. and do you think dietitian specifically could make some good money in UGC content creation. What’s answer here?

Anna: 16:01

I think they definitely can. I think in the dietitian space there’s so much we can do. This type of career it takes a special kind of person who is a little bit more creative. Really a lot of the ideas have to come from you. You’re given a general set of rules, but you have to think about how you want to display this product. So. You know, that’s not a ton of what we were taught in undergrad. I think it takes a specific type of person but dietitians are great candidates because we do have the nutrition knowledge and we know the different kinds of foods to be consuming.

Julia: 16:44

I agree. One more question before I lose that thought now. Over the years there has been a lot of changes to RDS working in the media and working with brands, which I think is great. But there is still some red tape because we don’t necessarily endorsing certain products, how are you able to navigate all that? Cuz dietitian are doing it every day. Obviously it can be done. I see RDS working with brands. Do you have any tips on navigating that? Because I think that’s a real fear that stops a lot of RDS.

Anna: 17:11

Yes. And that was something that I struggled with in the beginning because we focus so much on research based and getting recommendations that have the research to back it up. But at the same time I like to think of it having two different. In UGC I have my dietitian hat and then I have my marketing hat and sometimes I have to put that dietitian hat off to the side. So I can think about how I want to market this product.

You know, the nice thing about UGC is that you’re not limited to just food products. You know, you can do things like fitness products and self care products. I guess it’s really just kind of stepping into a different frame of mind when it comes to creating the video. And obviously my values don’t align with every single brand so I may not choose to work with them if I don’t think that their product is being marketed correctly. And you know, they’re selling in like a sleazy way, you know, I’m not gonna market something like that. you get to decide who you’re going to work with and who you’re not going to work with.

Julia: 18:29

Thank you for being so candid and honest, because there’s so many RDS that are currently doing this and it is the future because so much is going online. Sometimes there are brands that you absolutely reject and then other times there’s brands where you’re like, well, like, let’s see what we can figure out. These are my rules I’m not willing to cross this line.

Anna: 18:46


Julia: 18:47

And sometimes that can be also a great way to compromise with the brand. It happens with freelance writing all the time. Like you just have to be really firm with what you’re willing to do and what’s not okay. And obviously followed your college rules.

Anna: 18:59

Yeah, of course.

Julia: 19:01

In terms of money, money, money, how are you pricing your pieces? Cuz I imagine some can take longer than others. What’s the formula there?

Anna: 19:10

I price out by the amount of hours that it takes me to record the video, or not just record the video, but brainstorming process. Recording, editing and then creating audio. It does range per video, but I do offer packages as well. I discount those packages that are larger. Say somebody wants five videos or 10 videos I’ll discount that so it incentivizes the brand to get more from me instead of just a one off video. The one off video is gonna be more expensive than the, package per se because it’s a standalone video.

Julia: 19:55

Yes, totally makes sense. That’s a good trick for getting more sales, right?

Anna: 20:00

Yes, totally.

Julia: 20:02

Can you share maybe some ballpark figures of how your business is doing or what your income goals are for the future? Just so RDS, have some actual like, numbers to think about.

Anna: 20:11

Yes. Ideally long term I would like to be north of a hundred K, that would be ultimate goal for me. I am still pretty new to this. I’m three months in, I obviously haven’t met my goal yet. I’m hoping that I can get enough long term clients that I’m working with on a monthly basis that are contracted. I did start out doing gifted collaborations just because I wanted to add to my portfolio. A gifted collaboration is just when the brand sends you the product and then you make a video for them at no cost.

Julia: 20:53

So In exchange for the goods that they gave you basically. Gotcha.

Anna: 20:57

Yes, exactly. So I started off by doing that. And then after that I started charging once I started to see that there was more interest and brands actually started reaching out to me, which was really cool too.

Julia: 21:10

Can you share how much you charge, like ballpark figure for your very first project? If you’re comfortable, I don’t wanna pressure you.

Anna: 21:16

Yeah, of course, of course. As of right now, I’m charging $200 for a standalone video. Thank you for sharing that. It’s great to hear the numbers and be as transparent as you’re comfortable.

Julia: 21:26

Yes. You mentioned you built your portfolio with the gifted collabs. You mentioned Twitter has a great community and learning about it. Are there any other marketing techniques that are helping you grow your UGC business?

Anna: 21:38

I will mention I created my portfolio on Canva actually, and that was a great way to market myself. I could put all of my videos in one place and explain what UGC is and send that over to the brand super easily. I’ve really loved using that and then TikTok has been super helpful for me. I will ask brands, where did you find me on social media? And basically all of them have said TikTok. So TikTok is really interesting right now, the discoverability on TikTok is insanely good.

You know, and Instagram is having a weird moment right now. I don’t think the discoverability is as good. I don’t think people’s posts are getting pushed out as much as they used to be. People are saying that TikTok is kind of like a search engine. So when someone types in UGC creator and wellness UGC, I think my profile is more likely to come up on there cuz I’ve posted a few sample videos. It seems like TikTok has been my best marketing strategy so far.

Julia: 22:51

I scoured the internet to find a U GC dietitian. And your name was the only one that came up.

Anna: 22:57


Julia: 22:58


Anna: 22:58


Julia: 22:59

I’m curious too, cuz you know, I do focus on keywords and stuff and I’m like U GC dietitian is the most obvious keyword to search. If I wanted an R D who does UGC content and you were the only one, so yes, whatever you’re doing, it’s working.

Anna: 23:12

Okay. That’s great. That’s really helpful market research for me. So yeah.

Julia: 23:17

You know, I, I didn’t, I don’t think your TikTok came up. It was some kind of creator page that you were listed on. I can send it to you after if you’re curious, but

Anna: 23:24

yeah, yeah, no, I would love to see that.

Julia: 23:27

What steps should an RD take to break into U GC. If you could even narrow it down to just like three actionable steps someone could take today, what would you recommend?

Anna: 23:37

Today I would recommend starting to create a portfolio on canva. You can really mimic my portfolio for example, everyone has a portfolio on Twitter that you can kind of look at for inspiration, but it essentially works like a website, which is really nice. So it’s free. You don’t have to pay for it. I would recommend probably starting there.

Really it’s crazy to say, but going on Twitter and talking to people on there is huge because the amount of information you will learn and the amount of resources that are available, people sell UGC for beginner guides that you can purchase for really cheap. I think I bought one for $20 when I was first starting out. It basically breaks down everything step by step and talks about how to draft an email and start reaching out to brands. So I would say the two things that you can definitely do right now is get on Twitter and start adding other UGC creators and then start working on a portfolio.

Don’t limit yourself when you’re pricing out your videos. You are the. Editor, the director, the stylist, the lighting person, you know, there’s so much work that goes into creating a 15 to 22nd video. It sounds like it’s so short, but the amount of work that goes into is a lot. And once the brand has that video, and this kind of goes into creating the contract and you get to decide how long will they use this video for, what will they be using the video for exactly.

But once they kind of have that video they can do a lot of different things with it. They can repurpose it for other social media channels, like a YouTube ad or it can go on TikTok. There’s so many things that can happen to it. All those are all things that need to be considered when you’re pricing out.

Julia: 25:54

So you’re fairly compensated for sure. Super helpful. Okay. That is bringing us towards the end of the episode. Did you wanna share any final thoughts with listeners before we wrap up today?

Anna: 26:06

Yes. I just wanted to say thank you to you, Julia, for having me on. I feel really grateful that I’m able to talk about UGC and share it with everyone. If you’re a dietitian and you feel a little bit stuck maybe in your career, or you’re soon to be dietitian and you feel like there’s not a job out there the perfect fit for you. I would just say to not be afraid to do something a little bit different, whether it be U GC or any other kind of freelance work. I feel like Julia, you’re doing such an awesome job to bring all of these careers to light that so many people have no idea about, and I wish I had found your podcast sooner. I’m really excited to see what future RDS are doing.

Julia: 26:54

Thank you so much. That was very nice. I will link all of Anna’s social in the note section of this episode. And you guys can give her a follow and check it out. Anna, is it okay if listeners message you afterwards?

Anna: 27:06

Yes, of course. And I am happy to share any resources that I’ve used and answer any questions that you might have about uGC

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