Help works well when it is seen as answering real questions. Users look for solutions to those concrete problems they encounter using software.
Answers can be shown visually as well as verbally. (Pet peeve: “verbally” means with “words” and does not mean the same as “orally.”) The technical communicator can do this with videos, quick start guides, screencasts, or infographics. ( Apparently, tech writers do infographics better than copywriters )
When WordPress.org released its latest installation, 2.8 or Baker, on June 19, it also put out a video. This video answers an implicit question, “How does this version provide a cooler, smoother ride, like the music of Chet Baker sounds?” Quick reply: with an automatic theme installer, code highlighting PHP editor, and widget and interface improvements in the administration panel. It is an aural as well as visual answer and it hits its point in a nifty video package.
More on video’s potential as help: