Arte Moreno’s Niche Blogging Lessons

Arte Moreno’s Niche Blogging Lessons - Image credit: Jodi Miller

In a recent post entitled Make Money Blogging By ‘Selling’ Your Knowledge Caroline Middlebrook asked this question, “Why do all this work if all you are ever going to do is display ads for other people’s products?” Her concern, and it is a common one, is that running a successful blog involves creating high value, well researched, posts and then going out and promoting this blog like she did her flagship blog with a massive social media blitz. However, the point that she is missing is that a blog can essentially be a money making billboard and this is the lesson that Arturo “Arte” Moreno can teach us.

Who is Arte Moreno?

Unless you’re a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fan or in the outdoor advertising field you may not know who Arte Moreno is. Mr. Moreno, word is that he prefers to be called “Arte”, is an advertising executive who made his millions by displaying ads for other people’s products on outdoor billboards. He was the President and CEO of Outdoor Systems until he sold the company to Infinity Broadcasting for a cool 8 billion dollars and change in 1999. This put him in the Forbes 400 richest Americans list with a personal net worth just shy of $1 billion.

With this money, he then pursued his passion, baseball, and bought the Angels from the Walt Disney Company for a ‘mere’ $180 million in 2003. Within 3 years of this purchase he had doubled the value of the team without having to build a new stadium or raising admission or concession prices.

So what lessons can we apply to niche blogging from his impressive accomplishments?

It’s a Numbers Game

Numbers Game

Having a well trafficked location is one of the keys to the billboard business. One of Moreno’s talents in the outdoor advertising business was in finding these locations and capitalizing on them. For example, one of his deals involved paying $170 million for 45 billboards in Times Square in New York City. Another involved buying into the lucrative vacation destination billboard market along commonly traveled highways in Florida.

A problem that he faced early in his tenure at Outdoor Systems was that the company couldn’t afford to be the biggest local billboard company in the Phoenix Arizona area where the company was located. Instead, he concentrated on customer service and judiciously selecting the right locations for his clients.

For our niche blogging efforts this means that we need to know our numbers. We need to know how well a location, our niche, performs. Does it bring in traffic or not? Does this traffic convert to advertising clicks and affiliate sales? What is our competition and how can we make our niche site stand out and be profitable in the face of tough competition? If you know your target niches and research them well you’ll soon find profit.

Everybody Starts Small

Baby Bear

Arte’s first commission check from selling outdoor advertising was for $2.25. That sounds like many people’s Adsense earnings for the month, doesn’t it? The thing is that in spite of this paltry commission check, Moreno did not give up and say, “Well, this isn’t working.” Instead he forged ahead and moved up within the company he was working for at the time. When he started working with Outdoor Systems in 1984 they had 80 billboards in the Phoenix area and made about $500,000 a year. When he took the company public in 1996, they were making $90 million a year and had 237,500 billboards all across the country.

The lesson here is to not be discouraged by the low earnings you see at the start and give up. How many people do you know who’ve given up when that first month’s Adsense total was really Adcents? Instead of throwing in the towel, constantly be looking at ways to make your niche blogging business grow and expand.

It’s a Passion But It’s Also a Business

A Catch at the Wall

Arte’s big passion in life is baseball. Before buying the Angels, he owned part of the Salt Lake City Trappers along with comedian Bill Murray and others. They enjoyed the games and owning a minor league club but they also treated it like a business, increasing the value of the team from $150,000 to $1.75 million. Likewise Moreno has increased the value of the Angels during his tenure there by using innovative marketing techniques.

There are two things we can learn here.

First of all, Moreno didn’t just concentrate on putting billboards in baseball stadiums or only running ads on his billboards that related to baseball. One mistake that novice niche bloggers will make is that they only want to blog about the one or two things that they have a passion for. Remember that as a niche blogger your business is providing advertising space that gets traffic that converts to sales. While you may not be passionate about Ohio DUI Attorneys, providing good advertising space for them can give you the time and money to enjoy your real passions in life.

Secondly, it’s OK to blend your passion with business or to keep them separate. If you enjoy writing on a topic and building an audience for it without a monetary motive behind it, that’s fine. If you want to build a money making flagship authority blog on a topic you have a passion for, that’s fine too. Where people get into trouble is when they incorrectly mix the two motives and their marketing approaches.

Learn More

There are some other great things you can learn from Arte Moreno. If you’re developing a local niche blog I’d highly recommend looking into the techniques he used to sell outdoor advertising and how he promotes the Angels in his local market.

Do you have anything to add on niche blogging, Arte Moreno, the Angels, baseball, or whatever? Leave a comment if you do.


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Comment by Grizzly
2008-03-28 15:07:46

Frank, I think that is one of the best articles I have read in a long, long time. Your writing is always well researched, well crafted and so professional compared to the rest of us hacks. I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote and love the manner in which you wrote it. You are a very gifted writer. I know you work hard at your craft - it shows and I am just a touch envious.

Comment by jfc
2008-03-28 16:07:40

Thanks Grizzly,

I just don’t have the time to write these kinds of articles that often since I’m trying to get niche blogs up and running. That’s why I only have had a few posts over the past couple of months.

Comment by Dinheiro
2008-03-31 08:38:29

jfc, i’ve nothing to add, but i need to congratulate you for this excellent article. It’s a very good example and an inspiration to everyone who wants to make money online. Thank you jfc.

Comment by jfc
2008-04-05 09:26:25

Thanks Dinheiro,

I’m glad you liked the article.

Comment by seo man
2008-04-02 10:24:24

Arte is one of not many guys on the internet who actually knows what he is talking about :) Great read.

Comment by jfc
2008-04-02 14:11:47

Hi SEO Man,

Akismet ate your comment but I pulled it out of the bin. You might have gotten incorrectly tagged by them.

Comment by Hock
2008-04-04 22:20:29


I enjoyed reading this article, especially the part about starting small. I remember the very first click I got from AdSense which was what got me excited about the possibility of an internet business.

Comment by jfc
2008-04-05 09:20:40

Thanks Hock,

I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

Comment by Monika Mundell
2008-04-06 19:11:46

Frank that was indeed a great post. I never knew Arte, but I’m sure that I can learn tons from him.

It’s funny you mentioned the passion bit. Recently I wrote a post about this on another blog and somebody got upset thinking I was trying to scam the Internet, when in fact all I did was try to make people see that building niche sites doesn’t involve the things you love.

Oh well, I tried at least.

Comment by jfc
2008-04-07 10:03:47

Thanks Monika,

Some people hate billboards too.

In spite of the objections of a minority of people, the Internet is going to remain an advertising medium and I think we’ll see a lot more blending of useful content with advertising in coming years. For example, corner ‘bug’ ads on YouTube and other video sites.

Comment by Paul Piotrowski
2008-04-21 16:27:26

Great article. What a great analogy comparing a Blog to the billboard business. Here in Canada we have Jimmy Pattison who did the same thing. He’s like the richest guy in Canada or close to it I think.

He also owns grocery stores and auto dealers and stuff like that, but I know billboards are a big thing for him. The money is massive.

Comment by jfc
2008-04-21 21:59:34

Thanks for stopping by Paul,

I’m glad you like the article.

If you want to learn about how to make money with Adsense make sure you read Grizzly’s blog (linked in the article). His info is free and on an ugly Blogger blog but it’s priceless.

2008-12-07 23:40:49

[…] earn cash online for a number of reasons. I discussed this a while ago on OpTempo in this article, Arte Moreno’s Niche Blogging Lessons, As I said in that article, one may not be passionate about DUI lawyers or carpet cleaning services […]

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