Managing a product involves a lot of moving parts. From developing features to talking to customers all the way to the not-so-fun parts such as talking about what you developed. More precisely, this is something called release notes. Every time you release a new feature or an update of your product, you should accompany it with a properly written release note .to make it easy for your users to understand how it affects them.
Today, we’ll learn all about release notes - what they are, how to create them and how FeedBear can help you as a release notes software.
What are release notes?
Release notes are a document where the software vendor explains what they have done in the latest product release. This can include bug fixes, design changes, new features, removing old and outdated features or just making any product changes at all.
If you’ve ever downloaded an update for an app on your phone, there’s a good chance that you’ve read some release notes before.
Although they may seem like something that no one reads, they are in fact an excellent way to communicate with your customers and keep them in the loop about what you’ve built or modified in your product.
Channels of distributing release notes
You will most likely read release notes somewhere in the app store as you’re updating an app. However, this is not the only way you can distribute your release notes. In fact, depending on your target audience, there are many others channels which may be more suitable for your product.
Presuming that you collect emails upon user signup (as you should), you can use a separate email list for sending out product release notes or just product updates in general. This can be a list of your paying customers, a list of your free trials or something else.
As far as release notes go, blog posts are one of the best ways to get them done. You can take your time to write about new updates in detail, annotate them with screenshots, add instructions about how they’re used and more.
You probably have a good chunk of your customers following you on social media. Delivering product updates through your social media content can be a good way to keep customers in the loop, as well as spark some engagement on your social media channels.
There are now a good number of tools that can help you send in-product messages about new updates. After all, what better place to communicate product changes than the product itself?
How To Write Release Notes
Just like any piece of writing, release notes have their own set of rules for writing them in a way that communicates your message effectively. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your aim is to give a quick overview and not complicate things up. Here are some major areas to keep in mind.
Keep the technical terms out
Your customers don’t need to know what’s happening in the back end, what kind of languages you’re working in and what kind of crashes happened on staging. The language should be simple enough for anyone to understand it in a matter of seconds.
Explain why changes are made
If you update a feature or fix a bug, explain the reasoning behind it in a short sentence. For example, speeding up the onboarding workflow.
Focus on the customer
A new change you just made will eventually help your company save 20% more money on development, but this information doesn’t have any value to the customer. Discuss what’s in it for them, e.g. no more Zapier integration crashing on them.
Add visuals wherever possible
Images, GIFs, short Loom videos, these are excellent ways to illustrate a point beyond just writing about a new product change. It’s easy to create any of these and there are no excuses for leaving them out.
And that is pretty much it. The same rules apply no matter the platform where you’re publishing.
How does Release Notes Software Work?
A release notes software does all the heavy lifting for you and ensures that the message reaches the right audience. A tool such as FeedBear is the ideal solution to take care of your release notes from a single place.
Release notes is the last part of a short but an effective process. First, you use a feedback board to collect feedback from your customers. This could be bug fixes, feature requests or something else that your customers want you to work on.
Once you choose the best requests or bug fixes to implement, you’ll move them to your product roadmap. This is where your customers can vote and leave comments.
The next step is when a feature is launched or a bug is fixed. Every customer that voted on that card or left a comment immediately gets an email that the issue is resolved. And voila - you’re effectively managing your release notes without any of the hard work.
The most important part is that the right people get the message about your release notes - the people who requested the changes in your software in the first place.
Why Should I Use a Release Notes Software?
You may be wondering if using a release notes software like FeedBear even makes any sense. But the truth is, there are some great reasons for adding this extra layer of communication with your customers.
It keeps customers updated
The truth is that most people signed up for your product to solve a pain point and they are rarely looking for anything beyond that. If you just created something in your product that will drastically change the way they use it, release notes are a great way for them to find out. If you just hope that the customers will figure it out on their own - keep hoping.
It drives feature adoption
New features only get adopted if customers know about them. Revolutionary ideas can get forgotten just because your customers don’t know that something new was ever developed. If you’re concerned about feature adoption, adding release notes is a great step forward.
It’s a better way to manage frustrated customers
If someone keeps asking about a bug fix or a new feature, you can only do so much to keep them calm. With release notes software like FeedBear, they’ll know immediately once you’ve resolved an issue that they had with your product.
FeedBear Release Notes Software
It takes just one tool to handle it all. FeedBear is your best way to manage customer feedback and communicate the work you’ve done for them. No matter how complex or simple your SaaS product may be or what your niche is, FeedBear fits into your feedback workflow.
With our tool, you can easily capture different types of customer feedback and categorize them using feedback boards. Customers can find others’ submissions and upvote/downvote or comment on them before leaving their own.
With the right feedback, you can create a product roadmap with as much or as little detail as you wish. You can keep your customers and internal stakeholders up to date, with details about each item added to a roadmap ticket.
Last but not least, as features and fixes go live, customers get updated with emails. You can choose whom you want to update - but the customers that voted or commented on a feature request always get an email.
Optionally, you can add each new completed item to a changelog. As an addition to your release notes, a changelog can be an amazing way to keep new features in a clean list for an easy overview.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for an intuitive, efficient and affordable release notes tool, sign up for FeedBear today! You not only get release notes, but also feedback boards, roadmaps and changelogs - all in one.