End users or customers are at the core of any business.
Truth be told–consumers or users are always the primary focal point for any business. To elaborate the statement further, you develop new products and enhance existing ones keeping your users’ preferences in mind. For this to happen, you must know what they want and show them what you’re working on.
Most tech companies today follow the agile model, which means faster releases and quick bug fixes. However, making changes is not enough. You also want to let your users know that your team is actively working on their feedback. Here is when release notes come into the picture. They serve as a source of truth for what changes are made in the app.
Release notes are an excellent way to enhance customer communication regarding updates. As per a report by Gallop, 23% of revenue increases through customer engagement. There are some customers who are geeky about product updates and using the beta version of an app. So release notes play a significant role in keeping these customers engaged with your product and also earn you word of mouth by referring the app to their friends.
Now that we know the importance of release notes and what they are, let’s take a look at how to write release notes.
How to write release notes?
Now that you know what release notes are, let’s understand – how to write release notes?
While there is no rulebook to write release notes, writing them in a way that is accessible to the consumers and adds value to them is essential. Let’s see a few ways to write release notes effectively.
Keep your consumers in mind
Simply put, consumers are human beings from varying professions. They may not belong to IT or related jobs. So drop the technical jargon. Write release notes leaving all prejudices and assumptions about a user behind. You want the release notes to be simple to comprehend. Offer your consumers as many details as possible about the fixes and updates.
For example, instead of simply giving an overview named “Bugs and updates,” break it down further. Address questions like What are the updates? Which bugs are fixed?, etc. This way, you let your consumers in the cycle of the software development process.
Show how the updates/bugs add value to the consumers’
Release notes are essential to keep your users in the software development loop. However, you also have an excellent opportunity to address how the bug fixation and updates will add value to the users. Take help from the sales and marketing team to explain these features if you’re struggling to do so.
Organize them well
A well-formatted document is always more readable. Use bullet points and headers and categorize notes into smaller sections for users to better understand them. For instance, your release notes may contain new features, discarded features, and bugs fixed. Write these into sections so that it’s easy to read for a user.
Focus on accessibility
Keep release notes accessible for users to not catch them off guard. Unannounced updates may make your users uncomfortable since they would be used to using your product in a certain way. So don’t bury the release notes deep down such that it gets challenging for users to find them. Attach it with your marketing emails as well, if possible.
Writing release notes effectively is crucial for users to understand your product better. We now understand its significance for the end users, however, let us now take a look at why they are important for a business.
3 Reasons why Release Notes are important for any business
Release notes are not only important to enhance customer communication, it helps your business too. We have listed four ways.
They inform users and internal teams about new features
While release notes are essential to keep users connected to your product, it also helps keep your internal teams informed about the updates. Many data analytics tools are available to enhance internal communication; release notes are, however, a more straightforward way to do so. It easily communicates the new changes with the sales and marketing team, support team, and testers.
If we have to segment them into parts, we can categorize release notes into two types:
- Internal release notes for management, DataBase administrators, and testers, which provide a summary of all the changes made so that the team is on the same page
- External for the end users that explains changes made in the products and how they will affect how they interact with the product.
Internal release notes may have technical jargon; however, external release notes will be a more straightforward document to read. Feel free to explain a new product feature in a way that educates a user. You can even link additional information documents with the release notes for users to go through a more extended version of the feature or update.
Hence, release notes ensure your team members and end users both are aware of the new changes.
Release notes create your product’s narrative
For any product to sell better, it has to have a unique story.
Release notes help you curate your product’s story, especially if you are an established business. A product has its life cycle of development, changes, release, enhancement, and so on. Release notes, in a way, act as a historical diary where all of these changes are noted. So over time, it becomes a historical log for that product, reflecting your product’s evolution.
So you can use release notes to measure the success of your product’s journey and celebrate it with your team. They not only help you sell your product better but also help you pause and realize how far your product has come.
Release notes enhance team and customer communication
Release notes are a source of truth even for marketers. Sales and marketing teams can use them as a source while talking to consumers and planning new content. Writing release notes thus also helps in getting your team members aligned on the release.
Other than the sales and marketing team, support teams can also use them as a reference while talking to a customer. They can use release notes as a guide while solving a customer query and directly pinpoint customers as they receive feedback or questions about the product.
Wrapping up the importance of Release Notes
Release notes are an excellent way for tech companies to show their customers the hard work they deliver to keep them satisfied. You must now know that they are a multi-faceted tool that works across development, sales, and marketing tools. On top of keeping your users in the loop about the latest product developments, it also keeps your internal teams updated about the same.
While you may easily confuse release notes as a could-have for your product, the article tells you why it is a must-have. Remember, it aids in narrating your product and, eventually, your company effectively. So keep them short, crisp, and appealing to the user’s eye. Let your release notes reflect your company’s brand and personality.
Vladimir is a software tester who has been working in the industry for over 10 years. He has a lot of knowledge and experience to share, and he loves to help others learn and grow in their careers. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing chess and spending time with his family.
Vladimir is a professional who tests computer software for defects and usability. He works in the software development life cycle to find and report problems with the software and is often involved in manual or automated testing.
As a software tester, Vladimir plays an important part in the software development process because he ensures that the software is defect-free and meets the needs of the end users. He understands this fact and writes about the role of software testing in his articles in Software Tested.