Our Attempt at 15 Minutes of Fame

by Jason -- October 12, 2009

Sharon’s sister, Onion Jennie, came to Sharon and myself with an idea to pitch our travel plans as a show to The Travel Channel. When I heard about this, I couldn’t believe the irony — independently, I had been thinking the exact same thing just a couple days earlier but had not mentioned it to anyone. After hearing about Jennie’s recommendation I decided it was indeed worth a try to pitch our travel plans to the Travel Channel.

But the question is, how do you go about pitching an idea to the Travel Channel? This post will explain how I found 30 high-quality leads and was able to send them an email for free using social media.

*Note - All names below have been changed.*

I started with Facebook — Facebook allows you to search for people based on their workplace.


Doing this gave me a list of about 130 people. Not everyone on this list is going to be helpful though, as I’m really looking for people that are in charge of the channel’s content. The next step was to take a few of the names I found on Facebook and search for them on LinkedIn to find more information about what they actually do at the Travel Channel.


Tip: Put the company name into your search as well, so a common name doesn’t turn up too many results.

This part will probably take some trial and error, as you look for someone with the right job function at the company. A good way to speed up this process is to find out where the office of the place you’re looking for is located. Travel Channel is located in Washington DC, so I filtered my results further on this. Once you find one person in the department you’re looking for, you’re typically golden. From here I recommend using LinkedIn to find other people from that persons particular department. Using LinkedIn’s “Viewers of this profile also viewed…” feature, you usually can find colleagues with similar positions to the person you’ve found.


From here, I start writing a list of all of the names of people I’d like to contact. You’re not going to get responses from everyone, so I recommend trying to make the list as long as possible. My experience with the Travel Channel was we sent out 11 emails and got 2 responses. Not the greatest response rate, but good enough to find out the information we were looking for.

After you have your list of names, it’s back to Facebook to actually find those people and send them a message. By default, Facebook allows you to send an email to anyone-LinkedIn costs a considerable amount of money to do this. Most people are on both.


Rather than typing in the person’s name on Facebook, I would recommend using another Facebook feature that allows you to browse the friends of anyone. Again, using my Travel Channel example, I found a good contact at the Travel Channel, I knew the list of people I wanted to contact, and I simply looked through their friends to find the people I was looking for.


Clicking their name, brings you to their profile, where again, you should be able to send them a message.


Advice on the email

My advice on the email is to create a brief commercial. Try to make the subject line interesting so they open the email. We went with:

“25-year old couple quit comfortable cubicle lives and move to Cambodia”

The actual email should be brief and to the point. I recommend bullets and never forget your call-to-action at the end. Do you want them to go to a website, email you back, talk to someone else? Always ask for the close!

So, what happened with us and the Travel Channel?

Unfortunately, you’re not going to be seeing Sharon and me on the Travel Channel anytime soon. It turns out that the Travel Channel does not produce any original content. They work with producers who have to finance the project themselves, submit the idea to Travel Channel, then cross their fingers the Travel Channel will pay the producer for the episodes and air it on TV. This discouraged us when we realized that the process was going to be a lot more difficult than we initially thought.

Our last attempt was to talk with a producer. My Dad happens to know someone who shoots travel movies and I got in contact with him. He was excited about the idea and thought there was potential, but at this point we only had 2 months before we left for our trip and it just wasn’t enough time. His recommendation was to use our blog to promote our own video’s and to shoot and edit the video’s ourselves.

I think we’ll take this advice and shoot video from time-to-time. Perhaps there’s still some hope that we’ll get our 15 minutes of fame after all.

Be awesome and help us share:

5 Responses to “Our Attempt at 15 Minutes of Fame”

  1. Great info here…I use a different method (type co. name in Google search or 411, call the headquarters number and talk to a live human), but hey, using social networking great idea.

    PLEASE stop mis-using “I”…”you won’t be seeing Sharon and I on” is correctly: you won’t be seeing us, or even you won’t be seeing Sharon and me….”This discouraged Sharon and I” again, should be “this discouraged us,” or This discouraged Sharon and me.

    Otherwise, fun reading!

    Good luck, happy sailing, hope you got all your shots and remember, don’t do any swimming!!


  2. Hi Claudette,

    Great advice on getting a live person, thanks for sharing.

    Also, thanks for the grammar correction, to be honest, writing was never my strong point, so I genuinely appreciate you letting me know. :-)

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Since this appears to be a forum for criticism, I thought I would mention that Jennie bring up the same idea about the Travel Channel wasn’t ironic, it was coincidental. I’ll not that I have no write to question grammatical errors seeing as I have no problem ending sentences with prepositions.

  4. You see, I messed up…. “Jennie BRINGING up”

  5. Matt, you ALSO forgot the “e” at the end of “note” and you wrote “write” instead of “right”. WOW.. embarassing… :)

    See you tomorrow!

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