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Importance of release notes best practices

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The first thing that probably comes to mind when you think about release notes for software as a service (SaaS) is…boring! Traditionally, release notes have been associated with lengthy technical explanations, a plethora of details and documentation, customer boredom, and a lack of value. But is that truly the situation?

In the future year 2022, you need to stand out from the competition, and one of the best ways to do so is to present your most recent releases and enhancements to your user base in a way that is intuitive and simple to find.

Your engineering and development teams put in a lot of effort to add new features, make your product better, fix bugs, and give your customers more value. You can’t afford for any of your important updates to go unnoticed or ignored.

It is not difficult to write excellent release notes: In order to make your release notes more appealing, interesting, and enjoyable, here are a few helpful suggestions (such as DOs and DON’Ts). Do you want to learn how to do it? From the writing process to the customer screen, release notes will be the focus of this entire article.

The following are our recommended product release notes best practices for SaaS release notes in 2023:

What is the correct format for a release note?

The template for release notes.

The release note should be brief.

Pictures have an impact.

Links to release notes

The pipeline for release notes.

Organization of release notes.

distributing release notes.

aiming for impact on end users.

how to write release notes for software as a service (SaaS)

How should release notes for your SaaS product be written “right”? Depending on your brand, they should ultimately be the same thing: effective.

There are several uses for release notes:

Inform: Your team needs to know what has changed and been updated in the release notes so they can find the information they need. Inform users of new enhancements, bug fixes, feature enhancements, product modifications, new services, etc.

Educate: Provide links and access to more in-depth resources, teach customers how to use new features and get the most out of your service. Since every new version of your service or platform has the potential to alter how users interact with it, make sure they are prepared for these changes and encourage them to view each release as an excellent opportunity.

Engage: Increase the number of people using your platform or service to keep them interested in becoming or staying long-term customers. They need to know from the release notes that your team is working hard to make your product better. Services that show that they care about their needs earn the trust of their customers. Allow your team to participate in the process and demonstrate that they are working hard for them.

Even though not every release can fulfill all three purposes simultaneously, you should try to incorporate them whenever you can. Make educational or informative notes that are also interesting.

You might be thinking, “How can I use release notes to better communicate and engage with customers now that our goals are clear?” How should release notes be written?

We’ll respond in one of two ways: one about how to deliver the release notes to your customers and one about the notes themselves.

release notes The template for release notes

Release notes are similar to letters that your team sends to customers to inform them of known issues, a release date, company news, a forthcoming launch, software enhancements, feature enhancements, product modifications, and other things. How do you begin writing a letter? Writing, yes.

Obviously, you need a catchy title and carefully edited content, but writing effective release notes requires more considerations than just those two. We’ll go over what we refer to as the “release notes template” in this section, which is a collection of advice and additional elements you should include in your release notes to make them effective. More than just documents, release notes help you communicate with your users. We’ll build great release notes with the help of the release notes template. So, let’s start!

release notes scaffolding Jon Tyson’s photography

The release note should be brief.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep things simple with technology and new features and updates. With a lot of documentation, you absolutely have to go into every detail. However, even technical readers now have a shorter attention span than they did in the past.

Users are more likely to read and digest information that is organized and simplified because they are experts at scanning. Even those readers who scan the page quickly for intriguing keywords will be able to get a sense of what the post is all about if the content is organized.

Release notes need to be straightforward. Photo by Pablo Arroyo

When writing release notes or other product documentation, ensure that it is well-organized and well-organized with headings and sections that enable the reader to process the document and extract the information that interests them, whether it is just a summary or the entire document.

If you can, make your documentation digital so that it can be accessed without downloading from your website. It’s a great way to distribute notes that are actually useful.

Keywords, tags, categories, taxonomies, and other data (and metadata) will assist both humans and machines in obtaining useful information. You can also include a good overview and an issue summary.

Do: keep it brief and concentrate on the final benefit to users.

Keep your updates to the point and as brief as possible. Share the final value to customers first.

What are their current options with your latest update or feature? All you need to do is let them know how their work has improved and demonstrate how to use it.

Users are customers, and they are always interested in the specific benefits of a new release or feature.

They may not necessarily be interested in the feature or update by itself. Lead with your release’s core value for them and then get into the specifics of how it works and what it does to get their attention and introduce it; First, let them know how the new product or feature will make things better.

Don’t say, “We’ve added advanced segmentation” right away, for instance. Instead, use the phrase “engage your customers with better focused content,” and then talk about how your users can now do so with your feature or update, as well as the particulars of the new technology for people who are more technically inclined.

Don’t get too technical or wordy.

When writing release notes and update messages, consider your audience. Is the typical user really interested in learning about the technical aspects, or is all they care about is what’s new? Longer, “jargony” information ought to be presented somewhere other than where you typically present updates.

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