SEEK24 and the Power of Targeting Press

As heavyweight Catholic missionary organization FOCUS started preparing for its annual SEEK conference, we knew the group was entering a pivotal period ahead of the 10th National Eucharistic Congress, a major event in July and the country’s first Eucharistic Congress in 83 years. We wanted to connect FOCUS with that event in order to position the organization as a dynamic leader in the American Catholic Church. To do that, we conducted research, set a defined press strategy, and measured our results.


We used our analytics tools and internal team interviews to gain a few insights:

  • A review of past SEEK press coverage revealed that even significant increases in journalist registrations resulted in, at best, only modest spikes to press coverage – and sometimes coverage volume actually declined
  • A small number of outlets generated the vast majority of SEEK coverage
  • A number of past articles had used stock photos or generic imagery with their stories, limiting the impact of social sharing


Our strategy was to invite fewer, targeted reporters and offer them white-glove treatment and access throughout the event. We designed this approach in order to increase coverage, guide the framing of stories, and improve volume among key outlets.

  • We credentialed just 20 top-tier journalists, nearly all from select Catholic outlets – about half as many as were credentialed for the previous year’s conference
  • We conducted SEEK’s first-ever press conference featuring FOCUS leaders and guests Dr Edward Sri, Fr Mike Schmitz, and Emily Wilson
  • We facilitated a media room with well-lit, quiet desk space for reporters, a secure equipment room for broadcast media’s storage use, and dedicated high-speed internet access
  • We ensured the reporters in attendance had easy access to Pesch team members and FOCUS staff to help facilitate interviews
  • Messaging was consistent and well-repeated via backgrounder packages, pre-event communications, and during interviews by designated spokespeople