To get the most out of your release notes, you need to put them in the hands of the right person or team. Whoever owns them needs to maximize their use and ensure the information within them gets in front of the affected users.
Typically, release notes end up being public versions of changelogs. However, suppose you’re looking to communicate with your user community effectively. In that case, it’s important to hand them over to a person or team that understands how to “talk” directly to your desired audience.
Release Notes: A Marketing Powerhouse
A release note is a powerful marketing device. As such, it should be put in the hands of the person – or people – who are already communicating to existing and potential customers. That’s why release notes should be “owned” by the marketing team.
Who Should Own Your Release Notes
Release notes should be considered a part of a company’s marketing strategy, and therefore should be “owned” by the marketing team that can work in conjunction with developers to collect the information and then massage the language to ensure it’s:
- Not overly technical/full of jargon
If possible, it’s also a good idea to have the owner add a call to action (CTA) to invite users to learn more or provide feedback, allowing them to spend more time with your product and/or continue interacting with your team/brand.
Of course, release notes should be collaborative. This may involve incorporating a technical writer, working with a development or test team member, and coordinating with marketing on the final product.
When to Announce App Changes
Many teams struggle with when to publish release notes. As they happen? According to a specific schedule? Only when there’s “enough” to talk about? As a marketer, you’ll have to figure out what makes sense for your company and your users. Remember: a release note should be specifically about an item that will affect a user directly. If the change is significant, it might require you to publish something sooner rather than later – even if you decide to stick to a specific schedule (bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.).
Ready to Showcase Your Product Changes? Get Creative.
Don’t just relegate your notes to the back pages of your website. Put them front and center by distributing them across platforms. Your release note may make sense getting highlighted in a monthly newsletter or on social media. It might work best as a blog if you’re looking for a creative way to dig deep into the changes and what they mean for a user (or if the adjustment requires a user to take a specific action).
If it’s a specific change, an in-app pop-up might draw a user’s attention. If it’s a significant change, it might even require a press release.
Once you start looking at your release notes through the lens of marketing material, it becomes easy to figure out what platforms or places might make sense to give it the most attention.
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