Bad press releases take many forms. Here are four surefire ways to waste PR dollars, with snippets of press releases we love to hate:

The amazing self-defeating lead: "Does it seem like everyone you know carries a pager? Obviously that's not true, but some day it may be."

Reaction: No need to read on.

The inane news flash: "A star-crossed dog and master gained a new ally today as Hilton Hotels Corporation named the duo to the Hilton HHonors [ sic] Frequent Traveler Hall of Fame."

Reaction: Canine capers? Hmm, why don't we get the connection to small business?

The sly come-on: "Most entrepreneurs and salespeople talk too much. Being aggressive, motivated and goal oriented, they feel that they must present the information that will sell their product or service forcefully and completely."

Reaction: So what are you selling, huh?

The oh-so-targeted pitch: "Thousands of PR and marketing professionals trust MediaMap to reach the their market."

Reaction: Maybe they shouldn't. The direct-mail piece was addressed to Susan Greco -- at Yankee Magazine

-- Susan Greco and Robina A. Gangemi