Kenda Skaggs loves her Golden Retrievers.
Journey's her newest.
She drove to Pennsylvania to get him.
Earlier this summer, she and her daughter took Journey out on the family boat on Skiatook Lake.
“Just driving the boat, and Journey hopped in the seat and I just started videoing him,” she said. “He sat there and his paws were on the wheel on his own and I thought it was cute.”
Kenda captured 13 seconds of Journey, perched on her daughter's lap, enjoying the summer breeze, and posted it to her circle of Instagram friends.
“Ten on my Instagram that's normal for me, you know a few on Golden pages that I posted it to” Kenda said.
But within 24 hours, those ten had grown to 62,000.
And there was this message to Journey from Jukin Media, one of three viral video licensing companies
that suddenly wanted to represent him in marketing agreements and take copyright of his 13 seconds in command of the family boat.
With millions of viral views piling up within the next few days, Journey, and Kenda, had suddenly discovered what it means to go viral.
“Disbelief, shock, it was random and it never happened to me before,” Kenda said.
“I don't think it happens very often, a lot of people try continually to make viral videos and never hit it, and then here's a mom who just got out at the lake and gets an innocent video,” social media strategist Cindy Morrison said.
Morrison left a television news career to become a social media strategist.
She works with companies to maximize their social media reach, and she says if you find yourself with a viral hit on your hands, like Kenda, you have three good options.
“You can monetize your YouTube channel, that's one way, you can go with one of these companies that will help shop it around, maybe to Ellen or one of the late night shows,” Cindy said. “They make money from all of the ads that they bring in when people watch this video, but you only get paid pennies on the dollar, and finally, monetize, think Grumpy Cat, all of the sudden, there was Grumpy cat everything.”
And Cindy says if you suddenly find yourself mining viral gold, consider all your options carefully.
“When you're working with these companies, a lot of people want to take a piece of that pie so you need to be very careful who you sign with,” she said. “Don't sign until you've read everything, maybe have an attorney look it over and definitely check the reviews on Google.
Kenda just consulted her son.
“And he said Mom that's the largest media company in the world, write them back,” Kenda said.
So she did, with a counter-offer to theirs.
“All within 10 minutes, within 10 minutes of my seeing the post, I had a deal,” she said.
Which gives her 60 percent of all proceeds generated from Journey's 13 seconds behind the wheel.
Kenda has no idea how much that could be.
It's like catching lightning in a bottle.
“I've had people ask how I did it or did I intend to do it and no, I never dreamed that a video of my dog would go viral, or other people say, ‘oh, I think I'll do that now, too.’ I don't think I could do it again,” she said.
Kenda's also got at least four offers to use Journey to sell dog clothes and accessories.
Cindy Morrison says most viral video owners make about a hundred dollars.
The YouTube video called "Charlie Bit My Finger," a baby biting the finger of his big brother, has brought in $100,000.
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