I used to call the process of using long tail terms and aiming for more high competition terms as Climbing The Ladder.
Here's how it works:
You start with a suggestion such as 'term life insurance for over 50's smokers'. An easy, low competition term for which ranking is expected to be easy. One writes an article using the term as the title. Perhaps adding a word such as 'Buying' to make a nice title with a suggested action: Buying 'term life insurance for over 50's smokers
You will get some traffic for this, not much, but probably most of the available traffic for your chosen term: 'term life insurance for over 50's smokers
Of course you are doing some link building to the page, if you are not doing any link building then forget about anything happening!
What you will probably find that your page starts getting ranked for terms such as:
term life insurance for over 50's
life insurance for over 50's smokers
Then you might start to see traffic for terms like:
term life insurance
insurance for over 50's
You'll have climbed the ladder from low traffic, low value terms to much higher value terms and for quite little work, certainly much less than trying to rank at the outset for 'term life insurance' or similar.
Just make sure that you use no more than 30-40 of your anchor texts as keyword related terms, all the rest should be generic 'click here' or 'see this' links. BUT in your niche related anchor texts use LSI related terms to give your link profile much more diversity and increase the authority and thus relevance of your page.