Prospectus content creation: do you need to transform your processes?

Prospectus content creation: do you need to transform your processes?

Prospectus content creation: do you need to transform your processes?

Prospectus content creation: do you need to transform your processes?

Paige Toomes

Copywriter and Digital Marketer

The university prospectus (viewbook) has the potential to be one of your most powerful recruitment and marketing publications.

It can be gated online via a form to collect email and postal addresses, and should offer prospective students a detailed overview of courses and what university life is like.

Prospectuses are also important to get right during the coronavirus pandemic, with many A-level students reporting that they feel abandoned by universities and aren't being given enough information.


A recent study on prospectuses found:

  • The printed prospectus is used extensively by over a third of prospective undergraduate students starting their research into universities

  • 44% of prospective students want to see an equal split of information about the course and university

  • Prospective students seek personality and genuineness in a prospectus (and can sniff out exaggerated claims)

Another study which was a 2019 university prospectus review also found:

  • 65% of people say they are likely to give print their full attention compared to just 35% for email

So although publishing a prospectus online is growing (and expected), the print prospectus is still an important asset.

Managing prospectus production often involves lots of stakeholders and contributors across different departments. So getting the right processes and technologies in place is crucial. Yet there are often common issues with process.

In this article, I'll go through some case studies of university prospectus production, and how GatherContent can help.

Collaboration issues

Producing and publishing a prospectus is a yearly requirement, but many institutions continually struggle with collaboration around projects across departments, and working in silos.

The University of Leicester used to work mainly with PDFs and Word Docs. When the annual cycle of updates came around for the Undergraduate and Postgraduate prospectuses, existing content was sent to the relevant departments annotated digitally with changes, or sometimes printed and annotated by hand.

This process resulted in a lot of emails going back and forth, problems with version control and communication across different departments.

How GatherContent can help 💡

GatherContent worked with the University of Leicester to centralise content production for prospectuses and other content. Now they have a single source of truth. Content is easily editable (not locked in PDFs), and everyone can communicate with in-line comments within a project. The University of Leicester also won a 2018 Heist award for their prospectus!

Consolidating digital and print  

Most universities will offer both online and print prospectuses.  But managing multichannel marketing, and consolidating processes is often a challenge for universities (especially as often there are varying requirements for each). Also, many universities are now offering different variations of personalised prospectus content.

For the University of Reading, online and print prospectuses were treated as separate entities with different processes for creating, editing, approving and publishing the content. This led to inconsistency in process, tone and accuracy between the two sources of content.

Also, their content for print was being sourced directly from academics, and content for the web was repurposed from this. This process wasn’t working because the printed content was the only source of truth. Deadlines for print drove the content creation process, meaning that content on the website wasn't updated until print content was.

How GatherContent can help 💡

These are common problems for a lot of universities. GatherContent helped the University of Reading to consolidate the two print and digital streams, so that they complimented each other.

They used different tabs within GatherContent for print, web and common content between both. Online content was then designed to expand on the print prospectus and be the most up-to-date version of the two.

Consistency and style guides

Prospectuses need to include key conventional sections about different courses. But consistency is hard to achieve with style and tone of voice when you have lots of different departments involved.

Previously, Keele University created their prospectuses using Word documents and email. This caused version control problems, where some subject matter experts were working on version 5, and others on version 2.

There were 73 people involved in the undergraduate prospectus project, and a further 20 people who had a view of all the content and activity. The content amounted to ​194 individual items​.

Managing almost 100 people across almost 200 items of content (as well as all of the people and content outside of the prospectus project), it was important have the right processes and technology in place.

How GatherContent can help 💡

Keele University has recently experienced a cultural shift in collaborative work with GatherContent. Now, they can improve development of prospectus content so that it isn't a once-a-year process, but rather ​a rolling process of iteration and continuous improvement.​

Two of the key ways GatherContent helped Keele with their prospectus content processes was through enabling:

  • Bespoke workflows. Today, Keele University has created a bespoke workflow for their content production in GatherContent, where they can assign clear roles and responsibilities. Now prospectus content is all in one place, with real-time collaboration, version control, and greater transparency.

  • Catch-all templates. Templates in GatherContent enable you to duplicate similar types of content easily, as well as differentiate between different types. Embed your style guide, sections and rules into the editing environment to ensure consistency.

Find out what else GatherContent can do for higher ed institutions


Many institutions use GatherContent to create and manage not just prospectus content, but all their content! Whether that’s marketing, course content, articles, university magazine content, website content, or internal documents.

To find out more about stripping ineffective processes from prospectus content creation, join our upcoming webinar, watch our short demo video for using GatherContent for higher education content, or visit our higher education industry page to see what else GatherContent can do for your content creation process.

If you want to be emailed once a week with new articles and events, subscribe to our higher ed newsletter.

The university prospectus (viewbook) has the potential to be one of your most powerful recruitment and marketing publications.

It can be gated online via a form to collect email and postal addresses, and should offer prospective students a detailed overview of courses and what university life is like.

Prospectuses are also important to get right during the coronavirus pandemic, with many A-level students reporting that they feel abandoned by universities and aren't being given enough information.


A recent study on prospectuses found:

  • The printed prospectus is used extensively by over a third of prospective undergraduate students starting their research into universities

  • 44% of prospective students want to see an equal split of information about the course and university

  • Prospective students seek personality and genuineness in a prospectus (and can sniff out exaggerated claims)

Another study which was a 2019 university prospectus review also found:

  • 65% of people say they are likely to give print their full attention compared to just 35% for email

So although publishing a prospectus online is growing (and expected), the print prospectus is still an important asset.

Managing prospectus production often involves lots of stakeholders and contributors across different departments. So getting the right processes and technologies in place is crucial. Yet there are often common issues with process.

In this article, I'll go through some case studies of university prospectus production, and how GatherContent can help.

Collaboration issues

Producing and publishing a prospectus is a yearly requirement, but many institutions continually struggle with collaboration around projects across departments, and working in silos.

The University of Leicester used to work mainly with PDFs and Word Docs. When the annual cycle of updates came around for the Undergraduate and Postgraduate prospectuses, existing content was sent to the relevant departments annotated digitally with changes, or sometimes printed and annotated by hand.

This process resulted in a lot of emails going back and forth, problems with version control and communication across different departments.

How GatherContent can help 💡

GatherContent worked with the University of Leicester to centralise content production for prospectuses and other content. Now they have a single source of truth. Content is easily editable (not locked in PDFs), and everyone can communicate with in-line comments within a project. The University of Leicester also won a 2018 Heist award for their prospectus!

Consolidating digital and print  

Most universities will offer both online and print prospectuses.  But managing multichannel marketing, and consolidating processes is often a challenge for universities (especially as often there are varying requirements for each). Also, many universities are now offering different variations of personalised prospectus content.

For the University of Reading, online and print prospectuses were treated as separate entities with different processes for creating, editing, approving and publishing the content. This led to inconsistency in process, tone and accuracy between the two sources of content.

Also, their content for print was being sourced directly from academics, and content for the web was repurposed from this. This process wasn’t working because the printed content was the only source of truth. Deadlines for print drove the content creation process, meaning that content on the website wasn't updated until print content was.

How GatherContent can help 💡

These are common problems for a lot of universities. GatherContent helped the University of Reading to consolidate the two print and digital streams, so that they complimented each other.

They used different tabs within GatherContent for print, web and common content between both. Online content was then designed to expand on the print prospectus and be the most up-to-date version of the two.

Consistency and style guides

Prospectuses need to include key conventional sections about different courses. But consistency is hard to achieve with style and tone of voice when you have lots of different departments involved.

Previously, Keele University created their prospectuses using Word documents and email. This caused version control problems, where some subject matter experts were working on version 5, and others on version 2.

There were 73 people involved in the undergraduate prospectus project, and a further 20 people who had a view of all the content and activity. The content amounted to ​194 individual items​.

Managing almost 100 people across almost 200 items of content (as well as all of the people and content outside of the prospectus project), it was important have the right processes and technology in place.

How GatherContent can help 💡

Keele University has recently experienced a cultural shift in collaborative work with GatherContent. Now, they can improve development of prospectus content so that it isn't a once-a-year process, but rather ​a rolling process of iteration and continuous improvement.​

Two of the key ways GatherContent helped Keele with their prospectus content processes was through enabling:

  • Bespoke workflows. Today, Keele University has created a bespoke workflow for their content production in GatherContent, where they can assign clear roles and responsibilities. Now prospectus content is all in one place, with real-time collaboration, version control, and greater transparency.

  • Catch-all templates. Templates in GatherContent enable you to duplicate similar types of content easily, as well as differentiate between different types. Embed your style guide, sections and rules into the editing environment to ensure consistency.

Find out what else GatherContent can do for higher ed institutions


Many institutions use GatherContent to create and manage not just prospectus content, but all their content! Whether that’s marketing, course content, articles, university magazine content, website content, or internal documents.

To find out more about stripping ineffective processes from prospectus content creation, join our upcoming webinar, watch our short demo video for using GatherContent for higher education content, or visit our higher education industry page to see what else GatherContent can do for your content creation process.

If you want to be emailed once a week with new articles and events, subscribe to our higher ed newsletter.

Webinar Recording

How to strip ineffective processes from prospectus content creation

Learn how GatherContent can enable you to manage a large, multi-contributor prospectus project with writers, designers and academic subject experts.

September 10, 2020

4:00 pm

Register now

Webinar Recording

How to strip ineffective processes from prospectus content creation

Learn how GatherContent can enable you to manage a large, multi-contributor prospectus project with writers, designers and academic subject experts.

September 10, 2020

4:00 pm

Watch now
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About the author

Paige Toomes

Paige is an English Literature and Media graduate from Newcastle University, and over the last three years has built up a career in SEO-driven copywriting for tech companies. She has written for Microsoft, Symantec and LinkedIn, as well as other SaaS companies and IT consulting firms. With an audience-focused approach to content, Paige handles the lifecycle from creation through to measurement, supporting businesses with their content operations.

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