In January, Katie Feeney nervously waded throughout the turf at FedEx Field, home stadium of the Washington Commanders (previously Redskins).
The Maryland native, 19, had been invited by the workforce to unofficially consider out for a function that did not however exist — the Commanders’ social media correspondent. And even though she is some thing of a information savant — having amassed practically seven million followers on TikTok and 900,000 on Instagram, and attained an eye-popping fortune — this was a total other challenge.
“I was taking pictures at the rear of-the-scenes information of the players warming up, hanging out with the admirers, anything at all they did just before the recreation, primarily,” Feeney claimed.
She passed with traveling hues.
The team’s posts on Instagram typically deliver in a number of thousand likes and 100 or so remarks. Feeney’s, nevertheless, earned far more than 42,000 likes and 730 remarks.
“After she came to the household finale previous season, our conversation developed into how she and the staff could mutually grow their partnership in 2022,” reported Kevin Kline, the Commanders’ social media director.
Now, she is the team’s official social media correspondent, and the 1st human being to keep such a function in the NFL.
“There are not a lot of men and women my age in the expert sports market — and there absolutely are not a lot of females — so being ready to do this feels actually amazing,” Feeney stated.
As well as, “My older brothers and I have often been big Commanders enthusiasts. We beloved heading to online games expanding up.” She even introduced them and her moms and dads with her to the match that landed her the NFL gig.
“It was surreal,” Feeney explained. “But I was in a position to request the gamers for pics without the need of sensation shy and humiliated.”
The to start with 1 she approached? Terry McLaurin, the team’s huge receiver: “It was outside of awesome and my brother was freaking out.”
The youngest of 3 children — her dad is a deputy state’s attorney her mom, an party planner — Feeney embarked on her social media journey at age 13 on Musical.ly (which afterwards morphed into TikTok), posting short videos with her soon after-faculty dance teammates executing to well-known tracks.
“I built comedy videos, far too,” she added. “I hadn’t gotten into a area of interest however, but I had enjoyable. But Musical.ly was not cool at all — specifically not in the way that TikTok is awesome [now].”
So a lot so, it designed her a focus on.
“In middle university, I stop for about a 12 months since young children had been giving me such a tough time for it in college,” Feeney claimed. “I’d occur home crying, declaring ‘I don’t want to do this. I never want to be the strange social media lady.’”
Immediately after a breather, she downloaded Snapchat and then TikTok and began publishing once again.
But then the COVID-19 lockdown took place and Feeney, like many other Us citizens, was restless and bored. She utilised her newfound downtime to movie Amazon product testimonials of all the things from skincare to mini cake-pop makers. “I experienced a whole lot of time all through that extensive span so I’d movie several instances per day,” she mentioned.
The golden rule of social-media good results is to publish at least as soon as a day to improve your subsequent, and even though growth was not Feeney’s aim, she attained additional than a few million followers on TikTok in a several months.
And then an even crazier thing occurred.
In November of 2020, Snapchat launched its now-well known Spotlight attribute, which allows consumers article clips of up to one particular minute. Feeney was an early adopter, submitting videos of her most loved products, with unboxing clips and demonstrations. Quickly, some of her videos have been garnering tens of millions of views per day.
At the close of her very first week, Feeney received a Snapchat notification that her content experienced gained her far more than $200,000. In just six weeks, she manufactured additional than $1 million on the application.
“I was definitely stunned. My mom and dad and I didn’t believe it was real at 1st,” she stated.
Alternatively than splurge on a lavish new way of life, she opened a 401K, invested, and compensated for for her education and learning at Penn State, where she just completed her to start with calendar year as a broadcast journalism key. She didn’t purchase a new car or truck or an condominium, or even a handbag.
“I built this nuts total of revenue and have no strategy what to do with it,” Feeney mentioned. “I’m not a significant spender.”
In 2021, she built yet another $1 million-plus from brand name promotions and creator funds throughout Snapchat Highlight, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
Feeney said her family members, with whom she is living with for the summertime, pokes exciting at her for complaining about Uber surcharges: “My mom will joke, ‘You can afford to spend an added $5 on an Uber. You just created a million bucks.’”
Last year, she interned for Penn State’s football crew, carrying out social media, which is how Kline found her.
“First and foremost, she’s a Maryland child and her family are Washington enthusiasts, and that … authenticity was what mattered most,” Kline said. “She’s [also] particularly adaptable and is aware of how to seriously fit in and adapt to any circumstance.”
Feeney admitted she gets recognized all the time, mainly on campus.
“People have been pleasant and respectful. For the most element, I have gained a whole lot of positive responses, and it’s constantly a enjoyment matter when an individual notices me when I’m out,” she said.
And she’s arrive a very long way considering the fact that superior college, when she could barely tummy the negative remarks.
“If anyone is having time out of their day to say a little something signify, they are in all probability heading via one thing so I test not to take it personally,” she claimed, incorporating that it’s a regulation of averages: “If you have a major subsequent on social media, you’ll get a lot of mean men and women in your feed. But if social media and marketing some thing you love on social media is something that provides persons joy, maintain at it. If I can spread that information … then I’ve succeeded.”
Even though she already has her dream task, Feeney designs to complete her training — and is not so guaranteed she’ll continue to be in the identical area.
Social media, following all, is an at any time-evolving business and Feeney realizes that it’s tricky, if not impossible, to guess wherever it might be in a several a long time. So she’s not established to establish her job around it, even though she does want to stay in sporting activities.
“I’ve usually loved likely to online games, and staying on the area with Penn Point out football is so fascinating. [Social media] has helped me comprehend the route I want get,” Feeney explained. “I would love to be a sporting activities broadcaster.”