Branded Content vs Content Brand
I think this strategy (building a content brand) will work for some brands but not every brand. If your brand is getting a positive ROI from your content strategies, pour some gasoline on it and ramp it up. Make sure to continue to monitor all your KPI's during this process and see what's working for you.
Your favourite content generation/marketing tools
I use a lot of different tools on a daily basis (maybe too many.) A few tools I use off the top of my head; Google Analytics, Mixpanel, BuzzSumo, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Microsoft Word, Optimizely, Wordpress, Draftin, AutopilotHQ, Slack, Adobe CC, Skype and a bunch more.
#1 Social media channel for content marketing
It really just depends on what your product and service are all about. If you're a jewelry company, maybe Instagram or Pinterest. For B2B companies, it might be Linkedin. Facebook has the most eyeballs by far and for most companies should be your starting place but you will need to spend some money to get some traction. My wife runs a social media agency, and she would be the first to say that every client is different.
Long detailed vs short snackable content
They are at WAR? Let me settle this battle right here and now, both can live side by side in peace. You should be using both in your marketing strategies. You can take long form content and break it down and make it snackable. Produce the best content you can make on a subject and don't worry about the length.
The future of the Content-SEO pair
Google will only improve their search engine further and higher quality content will continue to rise to the top. Remember that Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams? "If you build it, they will come." Focus on producing the best quality content you can produce. Yes, you need to take care of some basic on-page SEO but don't worry about SEO tricks or hacks anymore, they won't last. Your users should be your #1 focus!