Mirror neurons are the brain cells that are activated both when we do a particular action and when we watch somebody do that action.
Say you’re watching a man eating his sandwich and you immediately start imagining how it should taste. You even try to figure out if the man enjoys the sandwich or that he’s only trying to finish it by watching his face and body movements.
This is in fact a clumsy sketch of how mirror neurons work. They mirror other people’s actions in our brain and we start to have the same mind processes as they do. This enables us to read other people’s thoughts, feelings and intentions.
In other words mirror neurons engage us with other people’s mental states. One can’t imagine how frequently we use mirror neurons in a day: real life experiences, movies, lectures, stories, and of course online content, any form of action that needs mind reading (reading of thoughts, feelings, and intentions).
How to Benefit from Mirror Neurons in your Content
Mirror neurons are all about mental engagement with other people. When we watch somebody do something or when we listen to/read the description of actions or mental states, our mirror neurons start firing as if we are experiencing the actions or mental states ourselves.
So . . . engagement is the keyword here.
It goes without saying that one secret weapon behind different kinds of narratives such as movies, stories, ads, news, and any form of online content is people’s mental engagement.
And the persuasiveness of a content is a function of how people relate to the actions or mental states represented in it, or in other words how they engage with it.
Here are some suggestions for creating an engaging content:
Incorporate a complete process: Don’t leave your audience high and dry in making sense of the processes in your content.
If people should engage with the processes you incorporate in your content through their mirror neurons as if they experience them, it’s important that they find out where you’re going with those processes. Where you started from and where you’re heading with your content is of great importance.
Avoid fuzziness and give clarity to the information you present in your content.
Use human mental states: Now that you know our brain is curious to know what others feel, think and intend, it’s time to incorporate them in your content.
Use human case studies, write in first person point of view, use your personal experiences, and ask interview questions based on mental evaluations: feelings, emotional experiences, judgments, predictions.
Be authentic: You can’t imagine how people count on the authenticity of a content when deciding whether to be engaged in it or not.
When reading a content, there are two scenarios: either the author is there to solve a real problem, or he’s just another scum trying to steal people’s money or sell them a wicked opinion.
Anyway, as people avoid being engaged in a pointless situation in real life, they hate to be engaged in useless contents. So don’t get lost in how YOU think you should present your services to the audience, instead figure out how THEY need you to solve their problems.