SPOTLIGHT ON: SHANNON PEERLESS, MD, 10 YETIS

Company: 10 Yetis 
Job title: Managing Director 
Twitter: @ShazzaYeti
LinkedIn: Shannon Peerless

Did you go to university? 
After much debate, I decided to skip university. I did secure a place to do a degree in advertising and marketing, but at the very last minute I decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want the student debt and, most of all, I didn’t want to find myself regretting three years of my life and coming to the realisation that I didn’t actually want to pursue a career in my chosen subject. As it happens, I would’ve been pretty close with marketing, but I don’t for a second regret not going to university. In fact, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  When I decided that I wouldn’t be going to university, I knew that I had to find a career opportunity and a workplace within which I could progress quickly, so I set about trying to find that ideal role.     

What was your first job in PR? 
Believe it or not, it was this one. I had a brief stint at my local county council’s press office just before I left school (which is where my love for public relations originated) and after that all-important decision of turning down the place I’d been offered at uni, I went on the hunt for a full-time, paying job. The way I saw it, I’d rather spend three years working my way up within a company and gaining solid experience in a working environment than spending three years learning more about the theory side in uni. 

I figured I had one last chance to make a lasting impression and it was important for me to do that in person.

I spotted the 10 Yetis job and knew I had to go for it, but there was a lot of competition and when it was narrowed down to myself and one other candidate, we were asked to write some words on why we should be chosen for the role. I decided to write mine in the form of a news article and designed it all up (probably in Microsoft Word and I cringe to think what it looked like now) and physically take it to the office to drop off. I figured I had one last chance to make a lasting impression and it was important for me to do that in person. Thankfully, it worked and I was hired. I started here as a content writer, but quickly switched over to PR Account Exec because that’s where I wanted to be. In the last 10 years, I’ve gone from exec to account manager, to account director, head of PR and most recently, Managing Director.  

How did you get from there to your current role?
Lots of hard work and putting the hours in. We were a small agency when I started, so I knew that it was important for me to make my mark and perform well on client accounts in order to help with the agency’s growth. I’ve always been ultra-conscientious and put a huge amount of pressure on myself to do a good job (to the point where I’d stay up doing a homework project until 1am… when I was in primary school!) I think as long as you’re prepared to put a lot of effort and passion into what you’re doing, and show willing to take on work that others might not, you’ll get far in life.  

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I was previously Head of PR, which involved overseeing the entire PR department and ensuring that all of our client campaigns were running smoothly and delivering results. I was also heavily involved in approving campaign plans, press releases and other client materials, as well as stepping in when campaigns needed some TLC. There was also a big focus on delivering new business opportunities for the agency, which I relish, as well as overseeing the agency’s other departments, such as social media, video, design and web. 

If something isn’t working, it’s my job to look at the processes we have in place and improve them

As MD, I will be focusing first and foremost on new business opportunities and agency performance. If something isn’t working, it’s my job to look at the processes we have in place and improve them where needed. Over the next five years, we have ambitious growth plans that I will need to deliver; alongside supporting Andy in making 10 Yetis even bigger and better. We’re worked with some amazing brands over the last several years, and some exciting start-ups, and we definitely want more of that. 

What do you like most about working in PR?
The high that you get when you or your team land a piece of coverage for a client that you know they’ll be over the moon with. Preferably when it spirals and tens or hundreds of pieces come in. Aside from that, working with start-ups from the very beginning and knowing that your work has been instrumental to their growth. 

What’s the hardest thing about working in PR?
The pressure. You can have an amazing week for a client, but then you need to keep that level up the next week, and the week after that… or risk looking like you aren’t doing a good job. Also, the unpredictability; sometimes, a story I think will set the world alight falls flat and there’s no way to call it. If the news agenda changes at the last second, or someone puts a bigger and better story out, that can have massive repercussions for your story and the results it gets. 

Who is your PR inspiration?
Andy Barr. Google him. 

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you
Don’t put off doing today what you’ll only have to do tomorrow. Seriously, just get it done. 

Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
The Drum, The Holmes Report and PR Moment are all favorites of mine. I also enjoy Influencer, the CIPR member magazine and the occasional flick through PR Week. 

 What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
You need what I call “the fire”. If you aren’t hungry for coverage and you’re a bit lacklustre in your approach, the career won’t work out for you. If you really (and I mean really) want a story to do well, then I believe if the angle is strong enough and the sell-in approach is nailed down, you can and will make it work.

Inspiration is important in this business

Also, read as much as you possibly can about other PR campaigns that have done well for brands or won awards. Inspiration is important in this business and you can literally find that everywhere if you look hard enough.

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