In January, Katie Feeney nervously waded across the turf at FedEx Discipline, dwelling stadium of the Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins).
The Maryland indigenous, 19, had been invited by the workforce to unofficially try out out for a function that didn’t nonetheless exist — the Commanders’ social media correspondent. And while she is one thing of a information savant — having amassed nearly seven million followers on TikTok and 900,000 on Instagram, and earned an eye-popping fortune — this was a whole other obstacle.
“I was taking pictures behind-the-scenes articles of the gamers warming up, hanging out with the lovers, something they did before the game, effectively,” Feeney mentioned.
She passed with flying colors.
The team’s posts on Instagram generally carry in various thousand likes and 100 or so feedback. Feeney’s, having said that, earned far more than 42,000 likes and 730 reviews.
“After she arrived to the home finale past year, our conversation progressed into how she and the crew could mutually increase their partnership in 2022,” claimed Kevin Kline, the Commanders’ social media director.
Now, she is the team’s formal social media correspondent, and the initially individual to maintain this sort of a part in the NFL.
“There are not a whole lot of men and women my age in the experienced sporting activities business — and there surely are not a whole lot of girls — so staying capable to do this feels seriously neat,” Feeney claimed.
In addition, “My older brothers and I have generally been enormous Commanders enthusiasts. We loved going to game titles rising up.” She even introduced them and her mother and father with her to the activity that landed her the NFL gig.
“It was surreal,” Feeney mentioned. “But I was in a position to inquire the gamers for pics with out emotion shy and embarrassed.”
The initially one particular she approached? Terry McLaurin, the team’s extensive receiver: “It was beyond amazing and my brother was freaking out.”
The youngest of 3 children — her dad is a deputy state’s legal professional her mother, an event planner — Feeney embarked on her social media journey at age 13 on Musical.ly (which later morphed into TikTok), putting up short movies with her right after-school dance teammates executing to well-known tracks.
“I produced comedy films, way too,” she included. “I hadn’t gotten into a market however, but I had pleasurable. But Musical.ly was not awesome at all — especially not in the way that TikTok is awesome [now].”
So considerably so, it built her a target.
“In center school, I stop for about a yr mainly because kids have been giving me these kinds of a difficult time for it in university,” Feeney stated. “I’d arrive home crying, indicating ‘I do not want to do this. I don’t want to be the bizarre social media female.’”
Right after a breather, she downloaded Snapchat and then TikTok and began submitting once again.
But then the COVID-19 lockdown occurred and Feeney, like quite a few other People, was restless and bored. She made use of her newfound downtime to film Amazon products reviews of anything from skincare to mini cake-pop makers. “I experienced a whole lot of time through that very long span so I’d film a number of periods for every day,” she claimed.
The golden rule of social-media achievement is to submit at the very least the moment a working day to expand your pursuing, and even though development was not Feeney’s target, she obtained much more than three million followers on TikTok inside a couple of months.
And then an even crazier thing took place.
In November of 2020, Snapchat released its now-well-liked Highlight function, which lets users submit clips of up to just one moment. Feeney was an early adopter, posting videos of her most loved products and solutions, with unboxing clips and demonstrations. Suddenly, some of her video clips ended up garnering tens of millions of views for every working day.
At the conclude of her initially 7 days, Feeney obtained a Snapchat notification that her articles experienced attained her much more than $200,000. In just 6 weeks, she made much more than $1 million on the application.
“I was absolutely stunned. My mothers and fathers and I didn’t think it was genuine at very first,” she claimed.
Somewhat than splurge on a lavish new lifestyle, she opened a 401K, invested, and compensated for for her training at Penn Condition, where she just finished her first calendar year as a broadcast journalism key. She did not buy a new auto or an apartment, or even a purse.
“I built this insane total of funds and have no plan what to do with it,” Feeney claimed. “I’m not a major spender.”
In 2021, she built a different $1 million-moreover from brand name discounts and creator cash throughout Snapchat Spotlight, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
Feeney reported her family, 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 expend an additional $5 on an Uber. You just manufactured a million pounds.’”
Previous yr, she interned for Penn State’s soccer group, performing social media, which is how Kline found her.
“First and foremost, she’s a Maryland kid and her household are Washington enthusiasts, and that … authenticity was what mattered most,” Kline stated. “She’s [also] exceptionally versatile and is aware of how to actually match in and adapt to any problem.”
Feeney admitted she receives regarded all the time, mostly on campus.
“People have been pleasant and respectful. For the most section, I’ve obtained a whole lot of positive responses, and it’s constantly a enjoyable detail when anyone notices me when I’m out,” she explained.
And she’s arrive a very long way considering that significant college, when she could hardly belly the detrimental feedback.
“If anyone is having time out of their day to say anything mean, they’re most likely likely via a thing so I attempt not to consider it personally,” she said, incorporating that it’s a regulation of averages: “If you have a huge following on social media, you’ll get a ton of imply people today in your feed. But if social media and promoting one thing you like on social media is anything that provides individuals joy, maintain at it. If I can spread that information … then I have succeeded.”
Though she currently has her dream occupation, Feeney designs to complete her education and learning — and is not so confident she’ll remain in the similar field.
Social media, right after all, is an at any time-evolving market and Feeney realizes that it’s tricky, if not unattainable, to guess where it may well be in a handful of a long time. So she’s not identified to make her occupation around it, even although she does want to stay in sporting activities.
“I’ve generally cherished heading to game titles, and being on the subject with Penn Condition soccer is so fascinating. [Social media] has served me understand the route I want acquire,” Feeney stated. “I would love to be a sporting activities broadcaster.”