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How the University of Aberdeen is using GatherContent to develop their online prospectus

Robert Mills • 3 minutes

Since 1495, the University of Aberdeen has been pushing the boundaries of education, the results of which have led to five Nobel Prizes awarded for work either carried out or begun there.

Packed with potential, the University of Aberdeen is where history and academic prowess collide, and as the 5th oldest university in the UK, they’ve got plenty to shout about and this now extends to the areas of success they’ve had since they started using GatherContent:

  • Using GatherContent for Study Here section of website and online prospectus
  • Collaborating on content across multiple teams
  • Defined a detailed workflow to manage roles and responsibilities
  • Adding GatherContent to the content toolbox

We spoke to Project Manager, Fraser Smith, who shed more light on how the University have been using GatherContent for the past 6 months for the Study Here section of their website, and for their online course prospectus.

Fraser works with the marketing team, academics and technical team to get the most out of GatherContent. The alternative to GatherContent would have been content written in Word Docs with in-line comments and spreadsheets for tracking all changes.

By adding GatherContent to their toolbox, the University were able to soothe these content pains. They also use other tools to complement how they use GatherContent. SharePoint is the main project repository and Basecamp is a support tool when needed.

Whilst the main purpose of GatherContent is to plan and produce copy, it is also used to assign/label images to the correct page and location. As a large organisation producing a lot of content, they have created their own digital asset manager to store different media types so this too complements GatherContent. By using different tools it keeps them focused on specific tasks.

Using GatherContent for both print and digital content

Whilst there is still a requirement for printed copies of the course prospectus, the University identified a need to improve their online course information offering. The technical requirements were distilled into a technical specification which was then used to create complementary templates in GatherContent to support what content would be needed.

The team then curated the content into individual pages based on those templates created. Whilst the content is still being gathered, the team are already thinking ahead to how they can use one exercise in GatherContent to feed both the print and online versions of the prospectus.

“The benefit of using GatherContent for our online prospectus is that we can collate all of the different information about the degrees in one place, and then collaborate as needed.”

Fraser Smith Project Manager

One central place for three work streams to collaborate

There are three work streams for the projects. They are content, technical and information architecture. GatherContent is the central repository where all of those teams and work streams converge.

As part of the collaboration when it comes to the content production, members of the marketing team run workshops with the academics whereby the key outcome is information about what the page on the website needs to communicate. Marketing can then write the content based on that insight and then check with academic to see if it is a fair reflection of their programme.

Defining a workflow in GatherContent to keep content moving

A key component of that collaboration being successful is the workflow.

Once content items are defined in GatherContent, resulting in agreed templates, the team then start adding the content which officially takes a page into the ‘in progress’ stage of the workflow.

When the content is then ready to be passed to the academic who’ll be teaching the course, it moves to the ‘academic involvement’ stage where the goal is to obtain the technical input on how the course is taught and what the students will learn. The next step in the workflow is to review the content for the web, followed by an internal review by the marketing team to sense check the content and proof it.

It then goes back for a second academic review to make sure it is a fair and accurate representation of what is being taught and if it is, the final workflow stage in GatherContent is approved and therefore ready to be published.

“GatherContent has many benefits but one big advantage is that it provides a quick and visual way to see where content is at, who updated what and when.”

Fraser Smith Project Manager

Adopting GatherContent across in-house projects

The projects that Fraser and the team are using GatherContent for are still in progress. So far they have created 217 pages for the prospectus project and 165 for the Study Here section of the website.

Using GatherContent for both in-house projects has allowed for content planning and production across multiple teams that is kept on track through a clearly defined workflow.

How Aberdeen Uni is using GatherContent to develop their online prospectus

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About the Author

Robert Mills

Head of Content, GatherContent

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