Branded Content vs Content Brand
Every time I hear this question or ones like it, I'm worried that the industry is getting too caught up with terminology or catch phrases. "Branded content", "content brand", "content marketing" - whatever you'd like to call it, the focus should be understanding the needs and challenges of their target audience, and meeting those with content. This includes serving relevant content at all stages of the buying cycle (including post sale), and doing so to a variety of audiences (persona, vertical, etc).
Your favourite content generation/marketing tools
I've used a different tool set in every organization I've worked for, so I'll highlight the categories that are most useful in content creation (of course, tools are only so useful if you don't have solid process and workflows in place). I find it important to have a "Task" tool to stay on top of every small piece of content creation, a CMS to hold both in progress and completed content, an editorial calendar to better visualize what's happening, and a reporting tool. The less friction between all of these types of tools, the better, and it's vital to be able to share progress or collaborate with others simply.
#1 Social media channel for content marketing
Facebook and LinkedIn are poised to provide really great value to marketers going forward simply because of the robust targeting they both allow, however a focus on a single channel probably isn't the right focus. Each channel has a distinct audience, or at least the same audience goes to them searching for different things. The question shouldn't be "Should I use SlideShare or Pinterest?" but rather "Is my audience on [digital channel] and if so, how do I create relevant content for them in the best format for that channel?"
Long detailed vs short snackable content
Again, I'm going to shy away from choosing one over the other in favor of what an audience responds to. Both types of content have distinct value offerings. The key is to test. Try a variety of tactics and content types to see what your audience best responds to.
The future of the Content-SEO pair
Community forums are deeply undervalued as both areas for content creation and SEO results. There's a great blog about this by Joshua Paul entitled 7 Reasons That an Online Community Site is the Ultimate SEO Hack.