FAST Goal: Educational Release Notes

Educational

Educational

Educational

Style

Style

Style

Web

Web

Web

Channel

Channel

Channel

Changelog

Changelog

Changelog

Company

Company

Company

Ahrefs, a leading Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool, offers a masterclass in crafting educational product updates. Their approach to release notes goes beyond announcing new features and instead focuses on teaching users how to derive value from their toolset. Learn more about the art of the Jobs-to-be-Done approach with release notes.

Product updates are combined with new use cases.
Product updates are combined with new use cases.
Emphasize step-by-step instructions for achieving goals using the new feature.
Emphasize step-by-step instructions for achieving goals using the new feature.
Provide easy-to-read, clear, large screenshots or brief animations.
Provide easy-to-read, clear, large screenshots or brief animations.
Include multiple in-product announcements and highlight new features.
Include multiple in-product announcements and highlight new features.
Provide feedback instructions, directing users to a feedback board where they can ask questions or provide comments on the article.
Provide feedback instructions, directing users to a feedback board where they can ask questions or provide comments on the article.

We've analyzed hundreds of release notes to identify
20 best practices for engaging updates.

We've analyzed hundreds of release notes to identify
20 best practices for engaging updates.

Ahrefs Release Notes Best Ideas

Job-to-be-Done

Excels at guiding users on how to achieve specific results using the product's features

Job-to-be-Done

Excels at guiding users on how to achieve specific results using the product's features

Subscription

Non-disruptive email subscription form

Subscription

Non-disruptive email subscription form

Consistency

Weekly updates providing fresh ideas on leveraging Ahrefs for search traffic growth

Consistency

Weekly updates providing fresh ideas on leveraging Ahrefs for search traffic growth

Multimedia

Updates enriched with videos, screenshots, and step-by-step explanations

Multimedia

Updates enriched with videos, screenshots, and step-by-step explanations

Delivery

Updates do not disrupt user workflows - Unobtrusive update notifications that occupy a small portion of the screen

Delivery

Updates do not disrupt user workflows - Unobtrusive update notifications that occupy a small portion of the screen

Shareable

Easy to copy and share update links

Shareable

Easy to copy and share update links

SEO

As an SEO tool, Ahrefs excels in optimizing its own content for search engines

SEO

As an SEO tool, Ahrefs excels in optimizing its own content for search engines

Frequency

Weekly use case updates and monthly recaps in both text and video formats

Frequency

Weekly use case updates and monthly recaps in both text and video formats

Accessibility

Readable on various devices with good contrast and legible screenshots

Accessibility

Readable on various devices with good contrast and legible screenshots

Actionable

Clear guidance on where to go and what to do to increase traffic

Actionable

Clear guidance on where to go and what to do to increase traffic

Multi-channel

Updates are distributed through various channels, including blog, email, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter

Multi-channel

Updates are distributed through various channels, including blog, email, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter

Educate users on achieving results.

Ahrefs showcases how users can leverage their tool to drive more search traffic. Each update provides straightforward, actionable guidance on using specific features to unlock untapped potential. This approach helps users understand the tool's practical application, making the updates more valuable and engaging.

For example, they released a new backlink filter option and immediately they explained its use case with some eCommerce SEO tasks on promoting wireless earphones in their video review.

A screenshot for the January 2024 video recap.

Emphasize use cases over features.

Rather than solely focusing on new features, Ahrefs frequently emphasizes new use cases and strategies, even those involving existing functionality. They offer further educational resources for featured updates, allowing you to gain a comprehensive understanding easily.

Useful links from a video description in a February update.

Invest in multimedia content.

Ahrefs enhances its release notes with videos, screenshots, and comprehensive explanations, making the content more engaging and digestible. In the January 2024 update, they included four significant features and a list of minor improvements, all introduced with a 4-minute video recap.

In the January update, they begin with a video, followed by detailed text, screenshots, and GIFs explaining new product use cases.

And they have a dedicated YouTube channel only for thair product updates.

Reliable delivery.

Ahrefs maintains a consistent update schedule, with weekly use case updates and monthly recaps. They provide enough space at the start screen of every account with an explainable picture and a short recap of the main ideas.

Half of the start screen was allocated to a feature from the previous update.

That example with “Mobile usability issues” is a part of a big March 2024 update. Ahrefs not just announce once an update, they repeatedly highlight it’s different parts for a month to increase chances of educating users a new useful tools.

Areas for Improvement:

In our opinion, what could make Ahrefs’ release notes much better.

Enhance user feedback and engagement.

While Ahrefs has a feedback board, it's not easily accessible within the product. Incorporating user comments, reactions, or forums directly into the release notes could foster community and provide valuable insights for future updates.

Implement personalization and segmentation.

Ahrefs' updates are currently not personalized or segmented based on user preferences or needs. If Ahrefs allowed users to customize their update feed or segment updates based on roles or interests, they could deliver even more targeted and relevant content. Additionally, tagging their updates could improve navigation through their vast amount of useful content.

Improve navigation and archive management.

As Ahrefs' release notes archive grows, finding specific updates or tracking changes to particular components becomes increasingly challenging. A more intuitive navigation system, such as categorization or tagging, could help users quickly locate the necessary information.

Conclusion:

The release notes from Ahrefs offer a significant lesson in prioritizing user education and providing actionable insights. They set a high standard for communicating product updates by focusing on use cases, catering to various user segments, and investing in multimedia content. Ahrefs' dedication to empowering users through educational content continues to be a major strength.

Educate users on achieving results.

Ahrefs showcases how users can leverage their tool to drive more search traffic. Each update provides straightforward, actionable guidance on using specific features to unlock untapped potential. This approach helps users understand the tool's practical application, making the updates more valuable and engaging.

For example, they released a new backlink filter option and immediately they explained its use case with some eCommerce SEO tasks on promoting wireless earphones in their video review.

A screenshot for the January 2024 video recap.

Emphasize use cases over features.

Rather than solely focusing on new features, Ahrefs frequently emphasizes new use cases and strategies, even those involving existing functionality. They offer further educational resources for featured updates, allowing you to gain a comprehensive understanding easily.

Useful links from a video description in a February update.

Invest in multimedia content.

Ahrefs enhances its release notes with videos, screenshots, and comprehensive explanations, making the content more engaging and digestible. In the January 2024 update, they included four significant features and a list of minor improvements, all introduced with a 4-minute video recap.

In the January update, they begin with a video, followed by detailed text, screenshots, and GIFs explaining new product use cases.

And they have a dedicated YouTube channel only for thair product updates.

Reliable delivery.

Ahrefs maintains a consistent update schedule, with weekly use case updates and monthly recaps. They provide enough space at the start screen of every account with an explainable picture and a short recap of the main ideas.

Half of the start screen was allocated to a feature from the previous update.

That example with “Mobile usability issues” is a part of a big March 2024 update. Ahrefs not just announce once an update, they repeatedly highlight it’s different parts for a month to increase chances of educating users a new useful tools.

Areas for Improvement:

In our opinion, what could make Ahrefs’ release notes much better.

Enhance user feedback and engagement.

While Ahrefs has a feedback board, it's not easily accessible within the product. Incorporating user comments, reactions, or forums directly into the release notes could foster community and provide valuable insights for future updates.

Implement personalization and segmentation.

Ahrefs' updates are currently not personalized or segmented based on user preferences or needs. If Ahrefs allowed users to customize their update feed or segment updates based on roles or interests, they could deliver even more targeted and relevant content. Additionally, tagging their updates could improve navigation through their vast amount of useful content.

Improve navigation and archive management.

As Ahrefs' release notes archive grows, finding specific updates or tracking changes to particular components becomes increasingly challenging. A more intuitive navigation system, such as categorization or tagging, could help users quickly locate the necessary information.

Conclusion:

The release notes from Ahrefs offer a significant lesson in prioritizing user education and providing actionable insights. They set a high standard for communicating product updates by focusing on use cases, catering to various user segments, and investing in multimedia content. Ahrefs' dedication to empowering users through educational content continues to be a major strength.

Get Started with Ducalis free changelog tool

We've analyzed hundreds of release notes, and one thing stands out: clear, informative changelogs lead to happier users. Inspired by the best practices in this article, Ducalis offers a free changelog builder tool:

Get Started with Ducalis free changelog tool

We've analyzed hundreds of release notes, and one thing stands out: clear, informative changelogs lead to happier users. Inspired by the best practices in this article, Ducalis offers a free changelog builder tool: