Branded Content vs Content Brand
Both can work for big, multinational companies and that's why they do both. However, for businesses smaller than Coca-Cola, it is better to focus on becoming a content brand.
Literally everyone is doing some form of content marketing and I haven't seen it failing yet. Those who don't will definitely fall behind and lose to their competitors.
Your favourite content generation/marketing tools
Buzzsumo is a great tool and I often use it for some quick idea generation. It will find potential popular titles to write about with a simple search.
Canva is also a favorite to easily create some quick images, even though I have 0 designing skills.
#1 Social media channel for content marketing
For B2C and appealing products, I am pretty sure it will be Instagram and then Facebook. For B2B, LinkedIn and SlideShare will definitely stay at the top.
Long detailed vs short snackable content
Again for B2C both might work depending on the audience. For entertainment, short content is especially popular. For B2B, I have no doubt long form will win. Seth Godin is the only one I know to pull major success from short content.
However, there is no need to go to the other end of the spectrum and only create 8,000-word posts. Balance is key and tracking what our audience responds to.
The future of the Content-SEO pair
It is amazing how well content and SEO pair and they will pair even better in the future. Evidence shows that Google is tracking visitors' behavior as a ranking signal. So, if visitors don't like what they read and leave, this will impact the website's rankings in a negative way.
Google wants to show the best results to visitors. So, it is very important to have the best content among the top 10 results of your target keyword to rank and stay there. Thin content is dead for better or worse.
On a side note, focusing solely on content and ignoring its SEO aspect will leave significant traffic "on the table".