Fractl collaborated with BuzzStream to apply psychological theories to influencer marketing. Below are four key takeaways that will give you a more persuasive edge when working on your next pitch.

1. People want choices.

We are offered endless options daily; even something as simple as a cup of coffee comes in small, medium, and large, with additional options for cream and sugar. Researchers at Columbia and Stanford universities found that 40 to 60 percent of participants' attention was caught when they had a variety of options versus only one. And consumers were 10 times more likely to make a purchase when provided with a limited number of options versus a more expansive number. These same principles can be applied during the outreach process. Some helpful tips:

2. Overcome communication barriers.

During the outreach process, it is incredibly rare to communicate in person with someone interested in your pitch. Researchers at Northwestern Law found that online communication has a limiting effect on persuasion, but understanding the theory of confirmation bias can help your pitch have a more persuasive edge by reaffirming an editor's existing ideas.

In a study on confirmatory bias, researchers at New York University found that when presented with information that confirmed their own beliefs, participants were more likely to agree with and positively review material. This same principle can be applied when pitching: Make sure you offer an editor content that reaffirms his or her audience's ideas if you want to increase the likelihood of your campaign being placed.

3. Tap into emotions.

Making an emotional or personal connection with an editor may be the biggest factor that determines whether or not your content will resonate. In a previous study, Fractl asked 60 viewers to list an emotion activated after looking at a set of images and categorized their results using Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotion. The results revealed that positive emotions were found more consistently than negative emotions in highly viral campaigns, although viral success was still possible when negative emotion ignited a sense of anticipation and surprise.

This same idea can be applied within your pitch. When offering content, expand on an emotional response a reader might have. For instance, the data could reaffirm something an editor already believes--an easy positive connection--or the data could go against a norm, likely leading to a negative response that includes the necessary "shock" value.

4. Keep in mind that you want to sell your content.

Look at editors as if they are potential consumers of a product--in this case, your content. A quick lesson in AIDA can help you figure out the best way to maximize your placement rate, or your version of sales.

AIDA is an acronym commonly used to describe the linear progression of persuasive techniques in sales. Here's how you can apply them during the campaign outreach process:

Attention - Gain an editor's attention through an intriguing but brief subject line at 35 characters or less

Interest - Attract interest through original data and unique visuals

Desire -Trigger a desire by including emotional content that most closely reaffirms your audience's existing beliefs

Action - Be sure the end of your pitch includes an explicit call-to-action

The biggest takeaway from our research? When applied to pitches, basic psychology theories can help your promotions team optimize their placement rates. Numerous conscious and subconscious thoughts affect our daily decisions, and by understanding these psychological theories, you can ensure editors will be interested in your content.

Psychology Theories of Influencer Marketing
Study by Fractl and BuzzStream.