Being a customer-centric company, you would want to value your customers and communicate every product update to them. WHY? Why do your product updates and new features don't reach their desired users then? Because you are not leveraging a top communication channel, "Release notes."
Release notes, commonly known as product changelogs, are crucial to understanding what has changed in a product. It is a channel to convey upcoming features, product changes, improvements, and bug fixes to enhance user experience and increase transparency.
What are Release Notes?
Release notes, also known as changelogs, are crucial for the overall release process. They help communicate what has been changed and fixed in the new release, and they also provide essential information to customers on how to use new features and upgrade their systems if required.
They are used to summarize changes made in the latest release of a product. Release notes are documents that communicate to the users the changes in a product and the steps necessary to update it.
It is equally essential for developers and product owners as it helps them understand why people are not using their product, allowing them to make improvements.
Release notes are usually written by:
- Product owner or product manager
- Quality Assurance (QA) analysts
- Technical writer
How to Write Release Notes?
Release notes are used by developers, product managers, and other stakeholders during product development to communicate changes over time. They also serve as a resource for users who want to know what has changed in their product version and how it may affect their usage.
Release notes should be written in simple language with no technical jargon that is easy to understand by both developers, internal teams, and users alike. This can be done by using short sentences and bullet points for each information section provided in the release note.
The more readable it is, the more likely it will be read by customers who want to know about changes to their favorite products or services. Therefore, it should contain information about the new features, bug fixes, and any other changes that have been made to the product.
The following points are important to include in release notes:
- Release version and release note date.
- Brief summary of all the important product updates.
- Explain all the new features released, any notable changes in the process of using the product, as well as all the enhancements and improvements.
- Definitely highlight all the critical bugs fixed in the release.
- Focus on any updates or upgrades required by the end-user in the notes.
Why Write Release Notes?
We have listed the major reasons why every company should write and publish release notes every quarter or month.
Single Source of Truth for Product Updates
Release Notes are a great way to show the value of your product. Release Notes are important and act as a single place for housing all your product-related updates, including:
- Providing an overview of what has changed in a release.
- Clarifying any changes that may have been unclear in the release notes for previous versions.
- Making it easier to identify what new features have been added or removed from the product.
- Ensuring that all parts of an update have been communicated to stakeholders.
Boost Customer Engagement and Reduce Churn
Release notes are an essential part of the customer relationship. Changelog helps boost customer engagement by keeping them informed about new features in the product and reducing churn by informing customers about what is changing and how it will affect them.
Publishing product updates regularly also increases transparency by letting customers know they're being heard. Their feedback is being valued and provides the company an opportunity to thank customers for their feedback and make them feel appreciated.
Improve Product Adoption
Release notes are one of the most overlooked aspects of product development. Yet, they can be your best friend to improve product adoption.
The primary purpose of release notes is to improve product adoption and provide transparency about what changes have been made in a given release. Release notes also help users understand how they are impacted by these changes, leading to more efficient customer support.
Release notes increase product adoption by:
- Providing a summary of what has changed in the product, focusing on important features and enhancements that are new or improved.
- Including instructions on how to use new features or workaround known issues.
- Announcing the release of a new version of the product and how to upgrade from an older version of the product to a more recent version, including any changes that might be needed before upgrading
- To announce the release of an entirely new product or feature with an overview of its capabilities.
Powerful Sales and Marketing Tool
Release Notes can also be used as a marketing tool for generating excitement and interest in an upcoming product release. They are a way for you to show the customer how your product is constantly improving and staying up-to-date with their needs. They provide customers with the latest information on what they can expect from the company's products.
The distribution of product changelog helps users adopt new features and updates by driving visibility and acting as a great marketing channel. One can distribute the release notes via social media accounts, company websites, emails, across your communities, and inside your app as a changelog widget to help market the quick updates about your product better.
Drive Awareness of New Features
The goal of release notes is to inform new and existing users about changes made to the product. The purpose of release notes is to help users understand how the new features work and how they differ from the previous version of the software.
Release notes are important because they drive awareness of new features and help people stay updated on the latest updates. They also provide a space for users to report any bugs or other issues that have been found.
Proves You're Listening to Customer Feedback
Release notes are a great way to show your customers that you are listening to their feedback. When you provide these updates, it shows them that they matter to you and that you care about their experience. Customers appreciate it when you keep them in the loop.
This is an important step in the product development process because it helps make your customers feel more connected with your company and product. It also helps them see how much time and effort you put into ensuring they have the best experience possible.
Top 5 Tools for Writing & Publishing Release Notes in 2022
Top Release note tools help you to easily write and publish new release notes without running between your development or marketing teams:
Rapidr helps product teams understand what customers need by tracking feature requests and ideas, analyzing & prioritizing what to build next, creating a roadmap backed by customer insights, and communicating new features with release notes.
Understanding customers begin by collecting their feedback in a centralized app. Rapidr helps you capture product ideas, requests, and feedback from colleagues and customers with their customer portal and in-app widget.
Next, for analyzing and prioritizing the roadmap based on customer insights, Rapidr helps you slice and dice feedback by customer attributes and sorting by votes.
Lastly, inform your roadmap with the most critical feedback, and let your customers know what's new with release notes.
Notion is the all-in-one workspace that combines notes, docs, and project management and can be easily used for release notes. Many startups use it to collaborate, stay informed, and publish release notes.
It also provides an extensive template library that includes release note templates to help speed up the process of creating and publishing your changelog.
Headway offers a changelog-as-a-service and a public page to keep the customers informed.
Beamer helps improve user engagement with an easy-to-use newsfeed and changelog. Use Beamer to announce relevant news, your latest features, and updates.
Launchnotes help keep the internal team on the same page around product changes, product development process and release pipelines and provide a dedicated place for customers to see what's going on.
Showcase the Value of your Product with Release Notes
Release notes help inform your customers and internal teams about the changes that have been made to your product. They are a way of keeping your customers up-to-date with what you are doing and a top communication channel to showcase the true value of your product.
Keep customers excited and informed about your product and reduce the pressure on your support and customer success teams by writing release notes. Rapidr can help manage the weary chore of writing release notes and distributing them with in-app widgets, and managing customer feedback to complete the customer loop.