Release notes can be practical marketing tools. However, like any other marketing material your team creates, the content needs to be engaging and meaningful. There’s nothing worse than writing something that nobody will read – which is why it’s essential to make sure your release notes aren’t too long, technical, or confusing.
Why Are Release Notes Important?
Release notes, in general, are crucial to alerting your audience to product changes. While minor fixes may not change the look and feel of your product, adding in new features, moving around UI elements, and evolving processes can end up confusing your core group of users if you don’t have an outlet that alerts them to the changes. Release notes are also a way to show that you are listening to user feedback. Often, changes are initiated when your development team gets feedback – including what a user wants to see and how specific features impact a user’s interaction with your product. By announcing changes, you can highlight the fact you’ve been listening to and acting on your customer’s feedback.
How To Engage Your Audience
The most important way to engage your audience is to talk directly to the user and explain (using language that isn’t overly technical) how the release affects them and how they interact with your product. Using simple, descriptive language in a tone familiar to your audience will help them engage with your notes.
Here are some effective tricks that can help you make that happen.
Segment the Users
Slack is an excellent example of a company that does this well. When users go to Slack for release notes, Slack divides them out according to the platforms they use. Take a Look:
Note that Slack doesn’t just make universal release notes. They also divide their release notes according to different platforms their users might engage the app on. If a user uses Slack on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, etc., they can find release notes catered directly to their platform.
Use the Proper Tone
Often, release notes can be left in the hands of engineers or developers and can sometimes come off as overly technical if not filtered through a marketing lens. Match the tone of your release notes with the overall style of your other marketing materials. Depending on your company, that could be conversational, cheerful, informative, formal, casual, etc.
Keep it Simple
Release notes don’t have to be long. The shorter and to the point you make them, the more effective they are. Try using bulleted lists to help your team keep it simple and only talk about the essential items that will directly impact your user base. Remember, you can always add in links to more information if you think specific individuals will want more in-depth reporting on changes.
Include a Call to Action
Make your release notes pop by adding in a call to action (CTA). Depending on the content of the release notes, this could be:
- Links to more information about the material changes
- Links to other (related) release notes
- Links to the app itself
- Links to an email for users to direct questions/concerns
For example, here’s how Mozilla slips in a CTA:
By adding a link to further information, Mozilla is inviting users to further learn about the deeper aspects of the release while still keeping the information concise and high-level.
Keeping release notes relevant and straightforward will help you communicate changes and updates effectively. If more information is needed, it’s always possible to link out to other web pages that can get more granular. However, release notes should always remain easy to access and high-level.
Are you looking for ways to simplify your team’s workflow? We have apps designed to streamline team communication, from integrating Slack to offering ways to automate your Jira experience. Check them out here.
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