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Release notes are common-used in many companies, especially software companies. You may be new to release notes and want to know how to write one. Or you might write a lot of release notes, but they did not help you get a lot of engagement.
Whatever cases you are in, you can get your answer here. We will explain the meaning, benefits, structure, steps, tips, promotion channels, and examples for release notes to you. Let’s start.
Release notes are documents to describe new features it provides, improvements it has, or bugs it fixes for this new or updated product. Generally, they are published along with the product launching.
The purpose of a release note is to notify users of new features, improvements, and bugs fixed and in what ways they help users have a better experience with the product. It is also a way to get more users to engage with your products, gain more satisfied customers, and achieve more sales in the end.
So who is responsible for creating a release note? Product managers and sales are those who prepare the release note. Product managers usually write the release note that will be put in the pop-up window of the products while sales prepare the ones for the blog post and website news.
Although many companies post these release notes whenever they publish a new product or a new version, they only take them as routine work and write without innovation. And that is why they cannot get the benefits they expect. To give its importance for a better understanding, we list all the gains release notes can offer.
Lead customers to pay. Many users of your products may be trial users. When they use your products and find some issues, they may hesitate to purchase. When you post a new version release note with new features or improvements that can fix their problems, they will go ahead to pay. And some users may compare your product with your competitors. When some features you published are stunning in the release notes they receive, they will choose yours directly.
Increase customer loyalty. They convince users that you take their experience seriously. And if the bugs reported by users are fixed, the feelings will be much stronger. Also, when you continue to add features they need to the product, they will be more willing to stay with you.
Engagement rises. When your users see you have new features or improvements, they will try to use them. Additionally, if the fixed bugs in the release notes are reported by them, they will be more willing to help you improve the software by sending you feedback in the future.
Before gaining access to how to write a release note, you need to know what contents it should have. Each release note will have a different structure. But most of them will follow the below one.
What is the product name?
What is the release number? (optional)
What is the releaser date?
What is the version?
What is the release note publish date? (optional)
Monday.com version 2.30 new release – 9th Jun 2022 (126.96.36.199.69)
Monday.com is the product name.
Version 2.30 is the version number.
9th Jun 2022 is the publish date.
188.8.131.52.69 is the release number.
A brief introduction of this release note includes features added, bugs fixed, changes are done, etc.
What is the purpose of this release note, and what will it do?
The main content contains features, bugs, and changes in this release note.
How will users be affected by these changes? What benefits can they get, what problems they may have, and how to fix them?
Leave contact information in case users have any problems or confusion.
Once everything is clear, you can follow the below steps to write a release note.
Whether you are a product manager or a sales, you need to know all changes including new features, improvements, and bugs in this new version or new product. Besides that, you should analyze what users can benefit from these changes and list them out first as your release note is used to let customers know how they will be affected.
You should follow the structure we mentioned above to write an outline. At this time, you can also prepare pictures, gifs, or videos if you need them.
Now, you should write the contents based on the information you collected and the result you get after analyzing.
Send your ready release note to your team members to have a look. Let them send you feedback. To make sure every member can send feedback to you in time, you can use the task management tools such as monday.com, ClickUp, NTask, etc. They can help you assign tasks to members one by one with email and deadline notifications.
You need to update the release note based on the feedback from your team members, then you can have the final version.
Finally, you can send to your customers with different channels such as pop-up windows, blog posts, email, etc.
Writing a release note is an easy task, but writing a successful release note is a difficult task. But it will be much simpler if you follow the below tips.
You should know why you write this release note and what you want to get with this release note. Only when you have a clear direction, can you know how to display the content?
The readers of your release note are customers. So you need to let your customers know what they can get from this new version or new product. How they can benefit and how to reach them.
Texts always let users feel boring and difficult to understand. You can add videos, gifs, and pictures to make reading more interesting and understandable. Also, the whole structure should be well organized and with short sentences. Please do not use any technical information in the release note, Customers cannot understand what technology you used in this new version and they also do not care about it.
The release cannot cover everything. You can add links like the guide, video tutorials, and articles to help users who want to know more about it.
Many of you will think all is done as long as I finish wiring a release note. This is not correct. When the release note is OK, you need to consider how to reach your customers. A pop-up window is the most used method at the moment. But it is not the only way. Here are other ways you can use it.
Email: You may have a customer email list. And you can send an email with the release note to them and let them have a look at the new version.
Blog Posts: Blog posts on your website are visited by a lot of customers and it is also a good way to show your release notes.
Social Media: Social media is always a great way to promote something. You can make a video about your release content. Post the release notes on your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.
Community: If you have a community with a lot of users, you can also post here.
Learning from other companies is always a good way to have a great idea about how to create a good release note. Here, we collect several release notes examples for you.
Jira has a good release note. Its structure is clear and easy to read with pictures and icons.
Tableau uses a completely different way to show its release note based on its product real cases. It only lists all bugs they fixed with a table. Very easy for users to understand what problems are fixed.
We like ClickUp release notes. It adds some icons to make them interesting and gifs let users understand the contents easily. The structure is also clear.
Monday.com use a bullet to describe each feature and some related links to help the user understand.
You need to check the teamwork release notes. It is published as a blog post. How do they describe the features worth having a look at?
Are you still stuck on writing release notes after reading this article? I cannot say 100% of you have no questions or confusion, but I am sure many of you have a clear idea now. If you still have any questions, please leave comments below, and let’s discuss them together.