Stories don’t exist in isolation.

There’s often untapped value in related material already finished and just sitting in a media company’s content management system, advised Pit Gottschalk, director of content management at Germany’s Axel Springer.

Springer’s vertical content engine (VCE), as described by Gottschalk during the Sunday morning brainsnack session of INMA’s 2012 World Congress, is specifically designed to tap into that value.

“In the past when you have to write a story, for instance about the new BMW, the editor did not know that there were other editors that were writing the same or similar articles,” Gottschalk said. “The (VCE) platform shows who else is working on the story and lets the editors determine how to benefit from what the others are doing — how to share the content.”

Significant savings come from avoiding duplication and not producing the same piece twice, he said. In a German-language video demonstration, he showed how the system displays all the articles being or already produced across all of Axel Springer’s newsrooms, along with their related media resources.

“By just a click, I can integrate the story in my CMS,” he noted.

Done right, he said, it means out of every 10 articles on a topic of interest to news consumers, seven can be pieces collected through shared content, and only three had to be produced completely new. In addition, while the three new pieces are coded for maximum search engine exposure, the shared material is specifically code with the “no follow” tag to reserve its value to the publisher.

As a result, publishers “get 100% of the value for 30% of the cost of producing new material” with zero loss of quality, he told the audience of about 200 in Los Angeles.

Axel Springer is licensing the solution to other media companies.