This is a topic that for some time has lingered on my mind. Trying to find answers I want to hear or read rather than put in the hard long hours of quality work but it looks like there’s no running away from the truth. Common to what I’ve come across is quality content, consistency and low hanging fruits keywords which have proven to yield results when I started to put it to test. In fact, I agree with you that no good results come on a silver platter. 
The first step that I take is to do a quick Google search to find pages on my domain where I've mentioned the keyword in question so that I can add an internal link. To do this, I'll use the following search query, replacing DOMAIN with your domain name (e.g. and KEYWORD with the keyword you're targeting (e.g. "social media strategy"):