Managing the PR campaign for an event or conference can be stressful, with a number of variables out of our control, from speakers being unable to attend on the day, to bad weather creating havoc with transportation links to the venue.

However, our experience shows that good preparation can go a long way in ensuring that an event runs smoothly. A good example would be The Economist Events’ 2013 UK Energy Summit, which we recently helped to promote.

With only 24 hours to go, we found out the keynote speaker Ed Davey would be making an important announcement and was no longer available to give interviews to attending media as originally planned. Having managed journalists’ expectations on this matter prior to the event, and by ensuring their needs were accommodated as far as possible on the day, we were able to make sure that this did not have an adverse affect on the resulting coverage.

Topics deliberated included the capital challenge involved in financing the UK’s energy sector, hopes and fears surrounding shale gas, as well as the security of energy supplies and their affordability – the key focal points of the Energy Bill. A definite highlight was Davey’s breaking news announcement of the forthcoming DECC reshuffle, and this has already led to some great coverage for the event.

With over 100 delegates present, as well as journalists from the top national and energy publications, there was a great atmosphere at the summit with a lot of related discussion in cyberspace, most notably on Twitter, creating a certain buzz around the event. This goes to show the value of social media when it comes to increasing engagement at conferences, by connecting delegates, speakers, journalists and external commentators in order to further debate the issues at hand.

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