An expert Public Relations agency which prides itself on its journalistic heritage has welcomed a writer with over 15 years of experience and an apprentice as part of its expansion.
Hartlepool-based public relations agency, Publicity Seekers, has welcomed seasoned journalist Mieka Smiles to the team as a Senior PR Account Manager and Sean Ramsden as a PR Assistant.
Mieka, who studied media at Leeds Beckett University before undertaking an MA at Sunderland University, has spent the last 15 years working as a journalist for well-known Trinity Mirror (now known as Reach Plc) publications such as The Journal, Chronicle, Sunday Sun and The Gazette.
Mieka said: “My first job in journalism was as a trainee reporter at the Hartlepool Mail, which is where I met Samantha Lee who’s the MD of Publicity Seekers.
“Working at The Gazette which was great because I’m a Middlesbrough girl. I loved being from the town and working at its local newspaper.
“But throughout my career, I’d always fancied going freelance and I got to a point where my children were young, and I saw the opportunity to work around them.”
As a freelancer, Mieka wrote for national titles including MailOnline, The Sun and The Guardian.
But at the end of 2017, Mieka hung up her reporter notebook and decided to begin a career in PR and communications.
She said: “I’d had enough of sitting alone at my desk at home and wanted to get back into the swing and hustle and bustle of a traditional office environment whilst still doing what I love – looking for stories and writing.”
Mieka believes that by entering a career in PR she can ensure businesses have their message heard through helping to tell their stories.
She said: “I’ve always felt that my favourite thing about journalism was finding stories that people want to read. I felt that if I could do that for some of the brilliant businesses in the region, I would get a lot of satisfaction.
“It’s great that Sam is a former journalist herself, so I know we’ll be on the same page.
“She can understand my skills, the challenges I face as a former journalist and guide me through the world of PR. I hope to use the news values that I’ve built up over the last 15 years to help businesses in the region.
“It’s wonderful at Publicity Seekers. The people here are lovely and it’s got a pleasant relaxed vibe that really helps to nurture creativity.”
Sean Ramsden, 20, joined Publicity Seekers in November 2018 as a PR Assistant whilst he also undertakes a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing through the Virtual College.
Sean said: “My role with publicity seekers is mainly admin based, assisting the account executives with tasks and filming and editing video content for clients.
“It’s great to receive the feedback on my video work and see how my content is already benefitting both our clients and Publicity Seekers.
“It’s fascinating to see the many industries the company works with and after a few meetings with clients, how our PR campaigns benefit them.
Sean previously worked in a Digital Marketing Agency in Stockton on Tees before making the move the Publicity Seekers and is hoping his new apprenticeship will allow him to build on his successes.
Mieka believes that PR can help businesses cut through the noise of advertising.
She said: “More and more I feel that PR professionals are being asked to demonstrate the ROI of PR.
“It can be difficult to quantify the benefits, but I feel that it’s more important than ever.
“As consumers we are constantly bombarded with advertising and I feel that PR can help a business spread its message in a more meaningful way.”
Publicity Seekers works with companies across a variety of sectors, including waste management, civil engineering, medical, education and construction.